Investors turn against gun makers after massacre

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 18, 2012 at 6:33 pm •  Published: December 18, 2012
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Firms like Cerberus are basically privately run pools of money that invest in companies on behalf of pension funds. On Tuesday, the fund attempted to distance itself from the national debate.

"It is not our role to take positions, or attempt to shape or influence the gun control policy debate," the firm said. "That is the job of our federal and state legislators."

Meanwhile, Dick's Sporting Goods Inc. suspended sales of all "modern sporting rifles," the industry term for military-style guns. The company also removed all guns from display at its store closest to Newtown.

Dick's has not promoted military-style guns as much as some other retailers. Its circular distributed in newspapers on Sunday had a full page of hunting rifles, but no military-style ones.

By contrast, St. Paul-based retailer Gander Mountain featured in its own flier the Black Rain Ordnance PG9, a military-style semiautomatic rifle, for $2,000. Other military-style guns were also advertised, including several from Bushmaster. Such ads are generally printed well in advance and would have been prepared before Friday's shooting.

A Gander Mountain spokesman declined to comment on whether it would change its gun lineup.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which offers Bushmaster rifles in some stores, said it would not change the guns it sells, but company spokesman David Tovar said the web listing for the Bushmaster "was taken down in light of the tragic events."

All the talk about additional gun control appeared to be driving increased gun sales, though. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation said it received a record 4,154 requests for background checks on Saturday, the day after the shooting.

That was slightly more than on its normal biggest day, Black Friday.

Bob Irwin, CEO of The Gun Store in Las Vegas, said customer traffic has jumped since the school shooting, with many customers concerned that more gun laws will be enacted. He has not pulled any guns from the shelf.

"My belief is the individual nutcase did this," he said. "The company that manufactured the gun didn't. That seems silly to deprive my normal customers of product because somebody misused a product from the same company."

Irwin agreed that the Connecticut attack demanded some kind of action. He suggested adding more security officers at schools.

Shares in publicly traded gun makers declined for a third-straight day.

Shares of Sturm, Ruger & Co. dropped 7.7 percent to close at $40.60. They have fallen almost 11 percent since Thursday, the day before the shooting. Shares of Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. fell 10 percent to $7.79 — down almost 15 percent from their Thursday close.

Outdoor goods retailer Cabela's Inc. fell almost 6 percent to close at $38.77.

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Associated Press writers Michelle Chapman and Jonathan Fahey in New York, Sandy Shore in Denver, and Judy Lin in Sacramento, Calif. contributed to this report.

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