In the absence of any meaningful gun regulation from Congress, Dick’s Sporting Goods, one of the biggest gun sellers in the U.S., has announced it will no longer sell assault-style rifles.
The sporting goods chain of about 720 stores is also discontinuing the sale of high-capacity magazines, will no longer sell firearms to anyone under the age of 21, and will not sell bump stocks or any other mechanism that allows guns to fire more rapidly.
Dick’s CEO Ed Stack said an interview Wednesday on “Good Morning America” that the move was a direct response to the February 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, where the teen gunman used an assault-style rifle and killed 17 people. “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,” Stack said.
After Parkland, Dick’s looked back on its records and found that it had sold the 19-year-old Parkland shooter a gun in November of last year — a shotgun, which wasn’t the type of gun he used to kill 17 students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“He bought a shotgun from us back in November,” Stack said. “When that happened — and we did everything by the book, we did everything that the law required — and still he was able to buy a gun. And 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.”
Since the shooting, the high school students whose friends and teachers were killed have been speaking up, urging legislators to move on meaningful gun regulations. While Congress hasn’t passed any new restrictions on the sale of firearms since the shooting, Stack was moved by the students’ demonstrations.
“We love these kids and their rallying cry, ‘Enough is enough.’ It got to us,” Stack told the New York Times.
Cover image: A statue of an eagle sits outside a Dick's Sporting Goods store in Peoria, Illinois, U.S., on Wednesday, March 6, 2013. (Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images)