April 5, 2013

Shop that sold gun to Newtown mom loses license

The Associated Press

EAST WINDSOR, Conn. — A shop that sold a gun to the Newtown school shooter's mother has lost its federal firearms license.

click image to enlarge

In this Dec. 20, 2012 photo, law enforcement officials stand outside Riverview Gun Sales, as authorities raid the store in East Windsor, Conn. The shop, which sold a gun to Nancy Lanza, mother of Newtown school shooter Adam Lanza, had its federal firearms license revoked by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which confirmed the revocation Thursday, April 4, 2013. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives revoked the license of Riverview Gun Sales in East Windsor in December. The agency, which confirmed the revocation to reporters Thursday, didn't say why.

Authorities raided the store for undisclosed reasons shortly after the December school shootings in which Adam Lanza killed 20 first-graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School. He also shot to death his mother, Nancy, at their home. Authorities say he fired 154 shots with a Bushmaster .223-caliber rifle inside the school, then killed himself with a Glock handgun.

Nancy Lanza purchased a Bushmaster from Riverview, according to a person close to the investigation into the school shooting who spoke on condition of anonymity because the probe is continuing. It could not be confirmed whether the Bushmaster was the one used in the shooting.

Shop owner David LaGuercia said in December that Nancy Lanza bought a gun from him years ago, but he couldn't remember what kind. LaGuercia said at the time he was cooperating with law enforcement.

"There is nothing more devastating than the loss of a child," LaGuercia said in a statement in December. "We are absolutely appalled that the product that we sold several years ago would be used in this type of horrendous crime. Our hearts go out to the victims and the families."

His wife, Shelley Clemens, said Friday that she and her husband still don't know why the ATF revoked his firearms license. She said the store remains open selling ammunition and other items that aren't firearms while LaGuercia appeals the revocation.

"They just came in the store after Sandy Hook, raided the store and took away the license," she said, referring further questions to her husband. LaGuercia, of Agawam, Mass., didn't return phone messages Friday.

ATF officials said federal firearms license holders receive a copy of the violations report before a revocation is initiated and are made aware of the violations again during the hearing process. They have 60 days to appeal and in this case they chose not to do so, officials said.

The weapons used in the shooting had all apparently been purchased by Nancy Lanza, prosecutor Stephen J. Sedensky III said last week when search warrants were unsealed showing the Lanzas' home was packed with weapons and ammunition. Clemens said in December that store records show one gun was sold to Lanza.

Riverview Gun Sales is about 15 miles north of Hartford and about 65 miles northeast of Newtown. In December, its website described it as a place that sold a variety of rifles and pistols, including Bushmaster and Glock, but on Friday, the website's links to specific guns indicated they were not available.

The shop also sold high-capacity ammunition magazines like the ones authorities say were used by Adam Lanza. In a law passed this week, Connecticut banned the sale or purchase of magazines holding more than 10 rounds.

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