Bushmaster Owner Puts Gun Company Up For Sale

(December 18, 2012)-- The private-equity group Cerberus Capital Management said Tuesday it will sell its controlling stake in Freedom Group International, the maker of Bushmaster rifles.

Adam Lanza, 20, is believed to have used a Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle, a civilian version of the military's M-16, in the shooting Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 children and six adults dead.

In a statement, Cerberus calls Friday's school shooting rampage "a watershed event that has raised the national debate on gun control to an unprecedented level."

Freedom Group, which says it's the largest firearms manufacturer in the U.S., sold 1.1 million rifles and shotguns last year, along with 2 billion rounds of ammunition.

Its products are sold to law enforcement and military customers, as well as retailers who sell them to hunters and gun enthusiasts.

Shares in publicly traded gun makers were dropping for a third-straight day Tuesday, as the political winds appeared to be shifting.

Some Republicans now say they're willing to discuss the issue of gun control, along with mental health issues and violent video games,

The retail chain Dick's Sporting Goods says it is suspending sales of military-style rifles during "this time of national mourning."

The company also removed all guns from sale and display at its store closest to Newtown.

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