In a statement that’s garnering national attention, Pittsburgh-based Dick’s Sporting Goods announced this morning that they will no longer sell assault-style rifles at any of their stores.
“Following all of the rules and laws, we sold a shotgun to the Parkland shooter in November of 2017,” the company said in a public statement. “It was not the gun, nor type of gun, he used in the shooting. But it could have been. Clearly this indicates on so many levels that the systems in place are not effective to protect our kids and our citizens.”
“We believe,” the company said, “it’s time to do something about it.”
The company had stopped selling assault-style rifles at Dick’s stores after the Sandy Hook massacre, they said. As of today, they “will now remove them from sale at all 35 Field & Stream stores.”
In addition, they will no longer sell any firearms to anyone under 21 years of age and won’t sell high-capacity magazines. Also, they point out, “we never have and never will sell bump stocks that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire more rapidly.”
On CNN this morning, the company’s Chairman and CEO, Edward W. Stack, spoke with emotion about his horror at finding out that his company had sold a gun to the Parkland shooter.
“We did everything by the book,” he told CNN, “and this kid was still able to buy a gun from us.”
He said that after watching Parkland students mobilize and implore the country to do something about gun violence, his company had to act.
“We concluded that if these kids are brave enough to organize and do what they’re doing, we have to be brave enough to take a stand,” Stack told CNN. “We don’t want to be a part of this story any longer.”
When asked about potential concerns from shareholders over this decision, Stack was firm: “We know there’s going to be some backlash,” he told CNN’s Chris Cuomo. But “it’s the right thing to do.”
In addition to changing their policies on guns, the statement from Dick’s Sporting Goods today included a plea to lawmakers: “We implore our elected officials to enact common sense gun reform and pass the following regulations.”
Ban assault-style firearms, they said. Raise the minimum age to purchase firearms to 21, ban high-capacity magazines and bump stocks, require universal background checks including relevant mental health information and previous interactions with the law, ensure a complete universal database of those banned from buying firearms, and close the private sale and gun show loophole that waives the necessity of background checks.
It’s a huge statement from a company that counts many gun owners among its customer base, but Stack believes it will find support nationwide.
“I’m a gun owner myself,” Stack told CNN, and he’s confident that many other sporting gun owners agree that choices like these must be made.