MADISON (WKOW) -- Dick's Sporting Goods is pulling certain kinds of semi-automatic rifles off its shelves nationwide in response to last week's shooting in Newton, Connecticut.
In a statement, The retailer says it's also removing all guns from its store nearest to Newtown.
The statement says the change comes out of respect for the victims and families of last week's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.
The guns removed from Dick's inventory are described as "modern sporting rifles." Sales associates tell 27 News the guns are similar to the primary weapon used in the Connecticut shooting.
Published reports say investigators are trying to determine if the shooter, Adam Lanza, attempted to buy a gun at a Dick's store in Danbury, twelve miles from the scene of the shooting, but balked at having to wait for a background check to complete any purchase.
Madison gun store owner Larry Gleasman sees the major retailer's move as symbolic only. Gleasman predicts Dick's will resume sales of the removed, semi-automatic weapons if competitors continue to sell them.
Representatives of gun sellers Walmart and Gander Mountain have not commented on whether they will modify gun sale practices, although Walmart removed the type of gun used in the Connecticut shooting from its web site.
Gleasman says efforts to limit sales of certain guns, or even revive bans on assault weapons, ignore the continued availability of other guns with nearly the lethal capacity. Gleasman says mass shooting incidents turn more on the actions of unstable, homicidal people, who are likely to find other, violent tactics, if denied certain firearms.
But board member Bill Kraus of the government watchdog group Common Cause says the killing of children in Connecticut gives impetus to years of efforts to restrict sales of weapons with capabilities beyond what's required for hunting, target shooting or self defense.
Kraus also says public officials in increasingly, politically "safe" state and federal legislative districts will be less swayed by pressure from interest groups such as the National Rifle Association to protect the breadth of gun rights.
In a statement, representatives of the NRA say they will weigh-in on measures to protect against any future mass shootings during a Friday news conference.
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