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Bass Pro CEO Holds ‘Constructive’ Talk With Sandy Hook Families

The head of Bass Pro Shops, who has remained on the sidelines of a gun debate engulfing retailers like Walmart Inc. and Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc., spoke privately with representatives for the families of victims in the Sandy Hook elementary-school shooting.

Josh Koskoff and Katie Mesner-Hage, lawyers for the relatives, said they talked with Chief Executive Officer John Morris after calling on the chain to stop selling assault-style weapons. The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the conversation.

“We had an honest and constructive introductory discussion,” the lawyers said in a statement. “Given the delicate nature of the issue at hand and out of respect for both the families and Mr. Morris, we won’t comment further but look forward to continuing the discussion in the near future.”

The talks come after a broader campaign to curb sales of assault-style rifles — a movement rekindled by a school shooting last month in Parkland, Florida. Dick’s announced last week that it would stop selling the weapons and increase its firearms-purchasing age to 21. Walmart, which stopped selling the rifles in 2015, also said it would raise the minimum age.

Bass Pro Shops, a hunting-and-fishing chain that also owns Cabela’s, has emerged as one of the highest-profile national retailers that still sell the weapons, which are known as modern sports rifles.

Last week, nine families who lost a child or spouse in the 2012 mass shooting sent a letter to Bass Pro Shops asking that Morris reconsider the policy.

“Do not allow the company you built to be complicit in the next senseless massacre,” they said in the letter. “Reckon with the infinite human potential wasted each time a community buries its children.”