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Two retailers make changes in how they sell guns

SALT LAKE CITY – Both Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods are making big changes in how they sell guns.  Both say they’ll no longer sell to people younger than 21, and Dick’s says it won’t sell “assault style” weapons at all.

To some people, Dick’s Sporting Good’s decision is good first step.  Utah Gun Violence Prevention Center Board Member Gary Sackett believes an AR-15 should only be in the hands of police or military.  He says, “You don’t need an AR-15 to defend yourself.”

Sackett says even if “assault style” isn’t an industry term, he says retailers can decide not to sell anything they choose.  “It’s perfectly logical and perfectly rational to identify those weapons that are material ways in which mass shootings can take place,” he adds.  He also says other high-powered weapons, like machine guns, have already been banned for civilian use, so he doesn’t think banning guns like AR-15s is unreasonable.

However, gun rights advocates say it’s dangerous to use made-up terms like “assault style.”  Utah Shooting Sports Council Chairman Clark Aposhian says, “When you make up terms like ‘assault weapon,’ it serves nothing more than to demonize the firearm.”

Aposhian believes the decision to ban these weapons was strictly an emotional one, and disproportionate to number of rifles actually used in firearm deaths.  He also thinks the move is done just to placate only a part of the country.  “If it does placate the American public by [making them think] that Dick’s has now stopped selling these evil firearms and everything will be fine, it will take the attention off the real problem,” Aposhian says, which he believes is a culture problem, not a weapons issue.

Plus, he says taking the weapons off the shelves will do nothing to take the guns off the streets.