Dick's Sporting Goods Inc has taken the extraordinary steps of removing assault-style rifles from all its stores, and raising the gun-buyer age limit to 21.
In the wake of the Florida school shooting that left 17 dead, one of the United States’ largest sports equipment retailers is taking assault-style rifles out of all of its stores permanently.
It will also end the sale of high-capacity magazines, and people under the age of 21 will be prohibited from buying firearms of any kind.
Our view was if the kids can be brave enough to organize like this, we can be brave enough to take these out of here.
While the company removed assault-style rifles from its Dick’s branded outlets after the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012, it continued selling them through a chain of hunting and fishing stores it opened a year later called Field and Stream.
Now, CEO Ed Stack has confirmed it will “never” sell an assault-style rifle or ‘modern sporting rifle’ again. Removing every last one from its 35 Field and Stream stores.
Speaking with ABC’s Good Morning America, Stack said he was inspired by the mass-shooting survivors rallying for gun control.
“We know that this isn’t going to make everyone happy, but when we take a look at what those kids and the parents and the heroes in the school of what they did. Our view was if the kids can be brave enough to organise like this, we can be brave enough to take these out of here,” he said.
The changes were first announced in an open letter on the company’s website.
The moving media release revealed that the Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz was recently able to buy a shotgun from Dick’s, and it rattled the leadership team, prompting them to agree to do whatever they could to “help solve the problem in front of us”.
“Following all of the rules and laws, we sold a shotgun to the Parkland shooter in November of 2017. It was not the gun, nor type of gun, he used in the shooting. But it could have been,” Stack wrote.
“Clearly this indicates on so many levels that the systems in place are not effective to protect our kids and our citizens.”
Stack also pleaded with the country’s decision-makers to act on gun law reform. Among the changes he’d like to see, are the nation-wide ban of assault-style rifles, and the legal age limit for gun buyers to be lifted to 21.
“Some will say these steps can’t guarantee tragedies like Parkland will never happen again. They may be correct – but if common sense reform is enacted and even one life is saved, it will have been worth it,” he said.
Walmart has not sold assault-style rifles, high-capacity magazine or bump stocks since 2015. With spokesman Randy Hargrove telling Reuters that the sale of such weapons was prohibited on its online marketplace too.