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Dick's Sporting Goods among retailers to meet with Holder on guns

| Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013, 6:38 p.m.

Dick's Sporting Goods, which suspended sales of some military-style weapons after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, was among retailers that met on Thursday with Attorney General Eric Holder about gun control.

The gathering took place on the same day Vice President Joe Biden hosted three meetings on the issue, as the White House tries to craft a response to the Dec. 14 shooting in which Connecticut state police said Adam Lanza killed 20 children and six adults.

Findlay-based Dick's did not respond to calls and emails about the private meeting at the White House.

The Justice Department would not name participants. In addition to Dick's, the meeting included representatives from Academy Sports+Outdoors, Bass Pro Shops, Big5 Sporting Goods, Cabela's, Dunham's Sports, Gander Mountain, Sportsman's Warehouse and Wal-Mart.

Several of those stores pulled “modern sporting rifles” from shelves after Lanza's rampage. Dick's removed all guns from its store closest to the school in Newtown, Conn.

Kim Stolfer, chairman of the Pennsylvania gun rights group Firearm Owners Against Crime, said he does not blame Dick's for pulling guns from its shelves. Instead, Stolfer criticized Holder and Biden for “a divide and conquer” strategy in the Obama administration's drive for stricter gun control.

Though President Obama has not proposed specific gun control measures, the expectation that he will do so incenses gun rights advocates, said Stolfer of South Fayette.

“It really got gun owners really aggravated and angry,” said Stolfer, who thinks more guns in and around schools would prevent shootings.

Gun owners “want to get rid of gun-free school zones. They want a nationwide carry permit. They want to carry when they take their kids to school.

“They don't want to just stop any type of new laws; they want to go in and peel off some of the old ones,” Stolfer said.

Gun control supporters are similarly galvanized.

“In all my years involved in the issues, there is nothing that has pricked the consciousness of the American people, there is nothing that has gone to the heart of the matter more than the image people have of little 6-year-old kids riddled — not shot but riddled — riddled with bullet holes in their classroom,” Biden said while meeting with Obama administration officials and sporting groups at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next door to the White House.

Mike Wereschagin is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7900 or mwereschagin@tribweb.com.

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