In response to the increasing gun violence in America, Dick’s Sporting Goods, one of the largest sports retailers in the U.S., has announced it is immediately ending its sales of assault-style rifles and requiring all customers to be older than 21 to buy a firearm at its stores.
The decision takes effect immediately at Dick’s more than 700 stores, marking a dramatic shift by a major seller of weapons and hunting gear in the aftermath of the Feb. 14 gun massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
“As we looked at what happened down in Parkland, we were so disturbed and saddened by what happened. We felt we really needed to do something,” the company’s CEO, Ed Stack, told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos during an interview in “Good Morning America.”
Stack said Dick’s discovered the Parkland gunman bought a gun at one of its stores in November. It was not the weapon used in the shooting.
“We did everything by the book. We did everything that the law required and still he was able to buy a gun,” Stack said. “When we looked at that, we said, ‘The systems that are in place across the board just aren’t effective enough to keep us from selling someone a gun like that.’”
The Florida school shooter used an AR-15 rifle to kill 17 people. That style weapon is among the firearms Dick’s will no longer sell. In addition, Dick’s stores will stop selling high-capacity ammunition magazines and will raise the age requirement for gun buyers to 21.
The CEO also called on Congress to pass legislation to prevent gun massacres.
“We hope that they come together with the intent of really finding a solution to this problem, as opposed to just talking about it, knowing that they’re never going to do anything, to just speak to their base,” Stack said.
Stack made it clear that the company supports the Second Amendment and gun ownership, and that preventing gun violence and promoting gun rights can go hand and hand.
“We’ve just decided, based on what happened, and with these guns, we don’t want to be part of this story,” he said.
Many companies have taken action since the shooting amid rising demands for tougher gun laws. Corporate entities, from airlines to rental car chains, have ended partnerships with the National Rifle Association.
We deeply believe that this country's most precious gift is our children. They are our future. We must keep them safe. Beginning today, DICK'S Sporting Goods is committed to the following: https://t.co/J4OcB6XJnu pic.twitter.com/BaTJ9LaCYe
— DICK'S Sporting Goods (@DICKS) February 28, 2018