Dick’s Sporting Goods took a stance in the national debate surrounding gun violence and gun control and will end the sale of assault rifles in the retailer’s stores throughout the United States.
“We have tremendous respect and admiration for the students organizing and making their voices heard regarding gun violence in schools and elsewhere in our country.”
The announcement was made by the nation’s largest sports retailers on Wednesday morning and said it was effective immediately.
“We support and respect the Second Amendment, and we recognize and appreciate that the vast majority of gun owners in this country are responsible, law-abiding citizens. But we have to help solve the problem that’s in front of us. Gun violence is an epidemic that’s taking the lives of too many people, including the brightest hope for the future of America – our children.”
The retailer also announced it would no longer sell “any gun to anyone under 21 years of age, regardless of local laws” or high-capacity magazines, according to The New York Times. Dick’s Sporting Goods “strong stance” comes just two weeks after a school shooting in Parkland, Florida left 17 people dead and pressure was put on corporate America in the national gun debate.
“When we saw what happened in Parkland, we were so disturbed and upset,” Edward Stack, chief executive of Dick’s Sporting Goods, said in an interview on Tuesday. “We love these kids and their rallying cry, ‘enough is enough.’ It got to us.”
In direct response to the Parkland school shooting, Stark said he realized Dick’s Sporting Goods, which was founded by Stark’s father in 1948, was “part of the story” after purchasing records revealed the sporting goods retail legally sold a gun to Nikolas Cruz, the suspected Parkland shooter, in November. Even though it wasn’t the gun Cruz used to carry out the shooting, Stack said “we don’t want to be a part of this any longer.”
“If the kids in Parkland are being brave enough to stand up and do this, we can be brave enough to stand up with them,” Stark said.
The sporting goods retailer said the changes, which were discussed and backed by top executives and directors, are permanent.
While the financial impact this decision might have on the retailer is unknown, Stack said he and the company “expected there would be mixed response – including fallout,” but he said they “don’t want to be part of a mass shooting.”
In a statement, Dick’s Sporting Goods is also asking Congress to “enact common sense gun reform” by passing the following regulations:
- Ban assault-style firearms
- Raise the minimum age to purchase firearms to 21
- Ban high capacity magazines and bump stocks
- Require universal background checks that include relevant mental health information and previous interactions with the law
- Ensure a complete universal database of those banned from buying firearms
- Close the private sale and gun show loophole that waives the necessity of background checks
“We hope others join us in this effort to let our kids know that their pleas are being taken seriously.”