A sporting goods chain says it’s suspending sales of modern rifles nationwide because of the school shooting in Connecticut.Dick’s Sporting Goods also says it’s removing all guns from display at its store closest to Newtown, where the massacre took place.Authorities say a gunman killed 26 people, mostly children, with a military-style rifle at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday after killing his mother. He then killed himself.A statement posted on Dick’s website expresses sympathy for the victims’ families. The full statement from Dick’s Sporting Goods’ website:”We are extremely saddened by the unspeakable tragedy that occurred last week in Newtown, CT, and our hearts go out to the victims and their families, and to the entire community.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 chainwide.We continue to extend our deepest sympathies to those affected by this terrible tragedy.”The company says sales of modern sporting rifles will be suspended during “this time of national mourning.”Dick’s declined to answer Associated Press questions about how long the suspension would last or which weapons were being pulled.Pittsburgh-based Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. has more than 500 stores in 44 states.Despite this halt on sales, gun owners say they will still find supplies elsewhere. As of November, there have been 432,000 gun applications made in Missouri in 2012. That number is roughly 40,000 more than last year. While no numbers exist for actual guns sold, Mid-Missouri retailers say they are reaching record levels in sales.Since 2002, the number of people applying to own either a rifle or a handgun in Missouri has doubled and recently has spiked even more.”I would say daily sales have probably tripled,” said Target Masters employee Jim Hill. “Since the election and it’s gotten even worse since the [Connecticut] shooting.”Over the weekend, Target Masters says they saw more people come through their doors than ever before. It seems people not only want to own a guy, but also know how to properly use them.”They’re buying guns, they are taking private shooting lessons and the conceal and carry lessons we can’t even come close to catching up,” said Hill.As people flock to gun shops and shooting ranges, Congress will continue to debate whether it is the right thing to do in light of the recent tragedies and residents agree.”I can see how people would want to go out and get more guns as well as take the guns away too,” said gun owner Logan Little.In Missouri, in order for someone to buy a gun, they must show proper identification and then get approved through a federal background check. On an average day, a person who passes can go home armed in around 20 minutes.
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