01.13.13

SCHUMER CALLS ON WALMART AND OTHER MAJOR RETAILERS TO SUSPEND SALES OF ASSAULT WEAPONS WHILE GUN SAFETY LEGISLATION IS DEBATED IN CONGRESS

brSince Sandy Hook Tragedy, Sales of Assault Weapons With Large Capacity Clips Has Skyrocketed Sales Expected To Climb Even Further With Upcoming Gun Appreciation DaybrbrbrOrganizers Are Calling For Mass Purchases Of Weapons On January 19th Will Mean More Assault Weapons On The StreetbrbrbrSchumer: As Congress Debates The Best Way To Protect Children From Gun Violence, The Nations Largest Retailers Can Make Everyone Safer By Temporarily Halting Sales Of Assault-Style Riflesbrbr

New York, NY - U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today called on the nation's largest gun retailers to participate in a temporary moratorium on selling assaultstyle rifles until Congress has considered legislation to reduce gun violence.  Since the Sandy Hook massacre, sales of assaultstyle rifles have skyrocketed, and are poised to grow even further during an upcoming "Gun Appreciation Day" organized by extreme progun activists.   Gun Appreciation Day, to be held later this month, encourages people to go to their local gun store or show and, among other things, purchase assaultstyle weapons.  Schumer will say that while Congress is debating the best way to reduce gun violence and keep our children safe, he is asking the nation's largest gun retailers, including Walmart, to voluntarily halt sales of these sorts of firearms.

 

"While Congress debates the best way to reduce gun violence and keep our children safe over the coming weeks, the nation's largest firearms dealers should temporarily halt the sale of their most deadly products," said Schumer.  "If Congress ultimately passes measures to reduce the availability of assault weapons or highcapacity clips, those efforts could be undermined by the purchase of thousands upon thousands of these products in the coming weeks."

 

Many retailers across the nation currently sell military style rifles like the those used in the Aurora movie theater and Sandy Hook shootings. This includes assault weapons like the AR15. 

 

Since the Sandy Hook massacre, many states across the country have seen consumer demand for guns skyrocket.  According to the Associated Press, there were nearly twice as many background checks in the country for firearms between November and December of this year than during the same time last year.  Law enforcement officials in Florida announced that on the day of the shooting, there were 4,805 background check requests for buyers as opposed to the 3,388 the day prior to the shooting.  In Georgia, the FBI processed 37,586 background checks for guns in October and that number skyrocketed to 78,998 in December. In Alabama, the number went from 32,850 in October to 80,576 in December. In Connecticut, one gun store, ArmsX, located near Sandy Hook Elementary School noted that the AR15 style rifle, which was used at Sandy Hook, accounted for more than 25 percent of their recent sales.

 

Recently, extreme progun advocates announced "Gun Appreciation Day," which will fall on January 19, 2013. The purpose of this day is to gather as many Americans as possible to go to their local guns store, gun range or gun show and purchase assault weapons. In fact, the website's goal is to reach 50 million American signatures on their petition that protests a discussion of national gun laws.

 

Schumer is today calling on the nation's largest gun retailers to temporarily suspend all sales, online and in stores, of modern assaultstyle weapons, like the one used at Sandy Hook.  He noted that a moratorium on assault weapons would appropriately respect the Second Amendment and the safety of our nation's children, while Congress debates the best way to implement gun safety laws.

 

A copy of Schumer's letter can be found below:

 

Michael Duke
Chief Executive Officer

WalMart

 

Thomas Millner

Chief Executive Officer

Cabela's

 

James Hagale

Chief Executive Officer

Bass Pro Shops

 

David Pratt

Chief Executive Officer

Gander Mountain

 

Darrell Webb

Chief Executive Officer

Sports Authority

 

Rodney Faldyn

Chief Executive Officer

Academy Sports and Outdoors

 

Steven G. Miller

Chief Executive Officer
Big Five Sports

 

Dear Mr. Duke, Mr. Millner, Mr. Hagale, Mr. Pratt, Mr. Webb, Mr. Faldyn, and Mr. Miller,

I write today with a heavy heart; the tragedy that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut, has left an indelible imprint on our national psyche. As a parent, my heart goes out to all of those who lost loved ones in the tragedy as well as the survivors. The people of Newtown -and all our fellow Americans-will have a long journey to try to understand how such a horrific event could occur.  On a national level, there is a thoughtful discussion underway about specific legislative approaches to prevent a senseless massacre like this from occurring again. In the meantime, I respectfully request that you temporarily suspend all sales of assault rifles such as the Bushmaster .223 assault rifle and AK47 rifle.

        The Bushmaster .223 allowed Adam Lanza to fire enough rounds to put multiple bullets in each of the twenty slaughtered children in a span of two minutes.  It may be that there is an appropriate role for weapons like the Bushmaster in the hands of civilians, but today it is difficult to imagine what that might be.  I hope to work together with you to evaluate our laws and identify the best way to balance the rights of individuals with our responsibility to protect the most innocent among us.   I am disturbed, however, that while that conversation is ongoing, sales of assault rifles are reportedly skyrocketing and those resistant to change are planning events such as "National Gun Appreciation Day" to protest these conversations.  I believe that these activities are counterproductive to the open dialogue we have begun.    

As the President recently said, "Our first task [is] caring for our children. If we don't get that right, we don't get anything right. That's how, as a society, we will be judged." I agree with the President and believe that every necessary step must be taken to protect innocent children. Therefore, during this time of grief, reflection, and sadness, I would ask that you follow the action of some of your peers and suspend sales on assault rifles both online and in your retail stores. I also hope that you will join in a conversation with the American people regarding these weapons and how to appropriately respect both the Second Amendment and the safety of our children. 

Thank you,

Charles E. Schumer

United States Senator 



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