Guns Out of Stock at Wal-Mart as Magazine Prices Surge on

by Matt Townsend, Bloomberg.com  |  published on December 21, 2012

Wal-Mart

With President Barack Obama endorsing sweeping gun restrictions in the wake of the school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, prices for handgun magazines are surging on EBay (EBAY) and semi-automatic rifles are sold out at many Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) locations.

Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, said yesterday that it would continue to sell guns, including rifles like the one used at Newtown, where 26 people, most of them children, were killed on Dec. 14. By contrast, Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. (DKS) suspended sales of similar guns at its more than 500 stores.

Searches of five kinds of semi-automatic rifles on Wal- Mart’s website showed them to be out of stock at stores in five states, including Pennsylvania, Kansas and Alabama. Wal-Mart doesn’t sell guns online, instead asking customers to input a zip code to see if their local store carries a specific weapon.

“We remain dedicated to the safe and responsible sale of firearms in areas of the country where they are sold,” David Tovar, a spokesman for Wal-Mart, said yesterday. He didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on this story.

Wal-Mart has about 10 modern sporting rifles, the gun industry’s term for firearms that look like an M-16 military rifle, listed on its website. The retailer removed a description and picture of the Bushmaster AR-15, which was the model used in Newtown, after the shootings.

In 2006, Wal-Mart reduced the number and variety of guns it offered in stores, and replaced them with more upscale products such as exercise equipment. It then reintroduced firearms to many stores in April 2011 as part of strategy to add merchandise back to shelves and revive sales growth at its Wal-Mart locations in the U.S.

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