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Walmart Urged To Stop Selling Assault Rifles By More Than 85,000

Walmart Assault Rifles

First Posted: 01/03/13 EST Updated: 01/04/13 EST

More than 85,000 people are asking Walmart to stop selling assault weapons in the wake of the Connecticut shooting that killed 26 people last month.

The petition, on action.SomeOfUs.org, urges Walmart to stop selling the Bushmaster AR-15 -- the high-powered rifle linked to the Newtown shooting -- as well other assault weapons. Walmart pulled the listing Bushmaster Patrolman's Carbine M4A3 Rifle from its webstore very shortly after the Sandy Hook shooting, but the company still sold similar rifles in 1,200 of its stores as of December 19, according to Bloomberg.

Walmart is the largest seller of guns and ammunition in the country, according to the Wall Street Journal. The retailer didn't immediately return a request for comment from The Huffington Post.

Walmart brought guns back to almost half of its stores in 2011, the WSJ reported at the time, after the chain pulled them from its shelves in all but a third of its stores in 2006. Bloomberg reported five days after the Newtown shooting that assault rifles appeared to be out of stock at Walmart stores in five states.

Walmart isn't the only place where enthusiasts are going to buy guns; sales across the country have surged in the wake of the Connecticut shooting as gun users race to stock up. Background checks for guns jumped to a record number in December, according to FBI data. (It's common for gun sales to increase after mass shootings, as enthusiasts race to buy them for self-defense or out of concern that lawmakers will put stricter gun controls in place.)

Still, the Sandy Hook massacre prompted some retailers to pull some of their gun offerings. Dick's Sporting Goods halted the sale of semi-automatic rifles four days after the shooting "out of respect for the victims and their families."