Published: Jan 08, 2013 11:34 AM
Modified: Jan 08, 2013 03:25 PM
MORRISVILLE - Mayor Jackie Holcombe said she wants retailer Gander Mountain to stop selling semi-automatic rifles at its Morrisville store in the wake of last month’s massacre in Newtown, Conn.
The shooter used a Bushmaster .223, which is sold by Gander Mountain.
Holcombe was supportive when Gander Mountain opened a Morrisville store in October. She called the outdoor-goods retailer a “perfect fit” for the town.But Holcombe said she wants the Minnesota-based company to help end gun violence.
“The availability of semi-automatic military-style rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines at the Morrisville Gander Mountain has not been great news for our citizens,” Holcombe wrote in a Jan. 3 blog post as an open letter to Gander Mountain chief executive David Pratt.
Holcombe said she has received emails and heard from residents who are upset over the past few weeks.
“People have said they feel so unsafe when I see how packed the parking lot is at Gander Mountain,” Holcombe said.
Gander Mountain spokesman Jess Myers declined to comment about sales of semi-automatic rifles or whether the company is considering halting sales of the guns.
Some other gun retailers have stopped or suspended sales of semi-automatic rifles. Dick’s Sporting Goods removed all guns from its stores near Newtown, Conn., after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in which a gunman killed 26 people, including 20 children. The company suspended sales of some models of semi-automatic rifles at other stores.
Wal-Mart stopped selling the Bushmaster model but continues to sell other semi-automatic rifles in its stores.
Holcombe said she hopes to meet with representatives of Gander Mountain so she can hear their perspective and maybe work out a compromise.
She also hopes her open letter will start a public discussion.
While stopping sales of semi-automatic rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines won’t end gun violence, Holcome said, it’s “a step in the right direction.”
“This is an issue we need to address from a variety of ways,” Holcombe said. “We need to look at what the Second Amendment means and what it was intended to do. We need to talk about the mental-health issues and domestic violence.”
Municipalities are limited in their ability to regulate firearms within town limits, said Morrisville Town Attorney Frank Gray.
A town’s elected leaders can ban the discharge of guns and regulate firearms on town property, but they cannot ban the sale of weapons that are lawfully manufactured, Gray said.
Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht said he won’t asked local gun retailers to stop selling semi-automatic rifles, but he signed a letter to Congress and the president from mayors across the country asking for legislation to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
“That’s not a decision point for us – it’ll be a decision, if one is made, on the national level,” Weinbrecht said. “For me to go after a local gun dealer makes no sense. It’s a federal issue, not a local issue.”Staff writer Andrew Kenney contributed to this report.