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Gun stocks close at multiyear lows after Trump tells lawmakers to raise purchase age

Shares of gun makers Sturm, Ruger & Co. and American Outdoor Brands — formerly Smith & Wesson — fell to multiyear lows Wednesday after Dick’s Sporting Goods announced that it will no longer sell assault-style rifles and President Donald Trump renewed his tough talk on guns.

Gun maker shares added to their losses Wednesday afternoon after President Donald Trump renewed calls for stronger background checks in a meeting with Washington legislators and said he would “seriously consider” raising the minimum age required to purchase an assault-style weapon to 21 years of age.

Shares of American Outdoor Brands fell 3.2 percent Wednesday to finish at $9 per share, while Sturm, Ruger & Co. dropped 6.6 percent to finish at $43.05 per share. The closing price for American Outdoor Brands was its lowest since May 2013, while the closing price for Sturm, Ruger was its worst since February 2015.

Trump pointed out that while customers must wait to 21 to purchase a handgun, individuals can still purchase assault-style rifles akin to the one used by the suspect in the Parkland shooting at 18 years of age.

The commander in chief said he told National Rifle Association leaders, including Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, “It’s time. We’ve got to stop this nonsense,” in a meeting over the weekend.

Shares of American Outdoor are down more than 11.6 percent since the massacre, while Sturm, Ruger shares are off by more than 11.2 percent.

As one of the country’s largest sports retailers, Dick’s told customers Wednesday that the company was “deeply disturbed” by the Feb. 14 mass shooting that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The gunman used an AR-15 assault rifle that he legally purchased, authorities have said.

“Thoughts and prayers are not enough,” Dick’s Chairman and CEO Edward Stack said in a statement. “We will no longer sell assault-style rifles, also referred to as modern sporting rifles. We had already removed them from all Dick’s stores after the Sandy Hook massacre, but we will now remove them from sale at all 35 Field & Stream stores.”

Dick’s Stack said the company would no longer sell firearms to anyone under 21 years of age and will not sell high-capacity magazines.

He also encouraged Washington lawmakers to make similar changes, recommending legislators pass a national ban on assault-style rifles and raise the minimum age for gun ownership.

“Some will say these steps can’t guarantee tragedies like Parkland will never happen again,” Stack said. “They may be correct — but if common sense reform is enacted and even one life is saved, it will have been worth it.”

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