DICK’S Sporting Goods — one of the United States’ major gun retailers — has decided it no longer wants to be in the business of selling assault-style weapons like the one used in the Parkland, Florida, high school shooting.
While the retailer is limiting its stock, DICK’S has also decided it will no longer sell high-capacity magazines that allow shooters to fire more rounds than a traditional weapon would without having to stop and reload.
Additionally, the company is putting stricter limitations on who can buy guns from their stores, noting it will make the minimum age 21 for all sales, regardless of local statutes.
DICK’S CEO Edward Stack said the firm is aware they’ll likely antagonize gun enthusiasts and perhaps take a hit on sales.
“The hunt business is an important part of the business, no doubt about it. And we know there will be some backlash,” he said.
But in some cases, backlash, Stack said, is worth it — and in the aftermath of the Parkland shooting, DICK’S management team said they’re ready to withstand it.
“As we sat and talked about it with our management team, it was — to a person — that this is what we need to do,” he said. “These kids talk about enough is enough. We concluded if these kids are brave enough to organize and do what they’re doing, we should be brave enough to take this stand.”
The issue has been personal for the team at DICK’S, the CEO noted, as Nikolas Cruz purchased a gun (although not the AR-15 rifle used in the school shooting two weeks ago) at a DICK’S Sporting Goods location. Although that store, Stack noted, followed local laws, it was not enough to stop Cruz from going on a rampage that left 17 students dead and scores injured.
“We had a pit in our stomach,” Stack told CNN. “We don't want to be a part of this story any longer.”
The move follows a decision by Walmart to also pull military-style semiautomatic weapons from its shelves in August 2015. Stack noted that although the company is a supporter of the Second Amendment, they want to be part of the school shooting solution going forward.
“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,” he said in a letter released Wednesday. “But we have to help solve the problem that’s in front of us.”
“Some will say these steps can’t guarantee tragedies like Parkland will never happen again,” Stack continued. “They may be correct, but if common sense reform is enacted and even one life is saved, it will have been worth it.”