California News

Dec 18, 2012 9:38 PM by Keli Moore, KSBY News

Rifle sales suspended at DICK's Sporting Goods

DICK's Sporting Goods has suspended sales of some rifles because of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings. They have 500 stores nationwide, the only one on the Central Coast is in San Luis Obispo.

The chain made the announcement Tuesday on its website saying, "Out of respect for the victims and their families, during this time of national mourning we have removed all guns from sale and from display in our store nearest to Newtown and suspended the sale of modern sporting rifles in all of our stores chain wide."

However, locally owned gun shops don't seem to be suspending sales. KSBY called around to a few shops and most did not want to comment. But an Atascadero gun store said since they are a small operation they can't afford to suspend sales.

"Sales are crazy. We are having a hard time keeping stuff on the shelf," said Mark Stickley, Atsacadero Firearms.

Mark Stickley said part of it is Christmas shopping, and part of it is the reaction to the shooting in Connecticut.

"There is a scare that there could be a ban on that type of weapon, so there has been a dramatic increase in sales of the AR-15," he said.

The AR-15 is the same weapon used by the shooter in last Friday's massacre.

"We sold six since Friday," said Stickley.

But why would anyone need a rifle that's equivalent to a military firearm?

"Target shooting, competition shooting, varmint shooting and for self protection and hunting," he explained.

California has been at the forefront of gun laws.

"There's a 10 day wait when you go to buy a gun. There's a background check that is criminal, they also run you through the Department of Mental Health here in California as well as through DMV," said Stickley. "In California assault weapons are illegal to own."

If that's true, how could the AR-15 be sold in California? According to one gun reform activist, gun makers come up with work-arounds like the bullet button.

"What it does is it mechanically locks the magazine to the firearm, so the only way to actually change your magazine is to take a tool that you have to use to remove the magazine," said Stickley.

DICK's Sporting Goods has not gotten back to KSBY on just how long the gun sale suspension will last.

Though DICK's is suspending sales, rifles are still a click away. KSBY did a quick search online and many advertisements come up for AR-15's for sale.

The National Rifle Association released a statement Tuesday saying it's "shocked, saddened and heartbroken" by the school killings in Connecticut, and it's pledging "to help to make sure it never happens again."

The NRA announced it will answer questions at a news conference on Friday.

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