Dick’s Sporting Goods, one of the largest retailers in America, will stop selling assault rifles like the AR-15, the weapon that was used in the Parkland massacre that killed 17 people. The company has also announced that it will limit gun sales entirely to people at least 21 years old.
“We looked at what happened and we were truly deeply moved and disturbed by those events,” CEO Ed Stack said today on Good Morning America.
“When we saw what the kids were going through and the grief of the parents and the kids who were killed in Parkland, we felt we needed to do something,” Stack continued.
The move impacts all of the brands under the publicly traded company, including its hunting-focused Field & Stream stores. The company was moved to action by the teen activists that have emerged from the shooting in Florida. Those young people have launched calls for boycotts of companies doing business with the NRA and have demanded that Congress finally do something to curtail gun violence in the United Sates.
“These kids were brave enough to stand up and, so we should be brave enough to stand up, and I hope our lawmakers will be brave enough to do that,” Stack said on Good Morning America.
The move will surely rile the NRA and its members, which is why Stack wrote an open letter to customers outlining the plan and why he felt it was the right thing to do.
“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 kids.”
Stack acknowledges that the decision won’t be popular with everybody, but that it’s the right thing to do.
The complete letter from Stack, first obtained by GMA’s network ABC, is below.
We at DICK’S Sporting Goods are deeply disturbed and saddened by the tragic events in Parkland. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the victims and their loved ones.
But thoughts and prayers are not enough. 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.
We have heard you. The nation has heard you. 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 kids. 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.
Clearly this indicates on so many levels that the systems in place are not effective to protect our kids and our citizens.
We believe it’s time to do something about it.
Beginning today, DICK’S Sporting Goods is committed to the following:
We will no longer sell assault-style rifles, also referred to as modern sporting rifles. We had already removed them from all DICK’S stores after the Sandy Hook massacre, but we will now remove them from sale at all 35 Field & Stream stores.
We will no longer sell firearms to anyone under 21 years of age. We will no longer sell high capacity magazines. We never have and never will sell bump stocks that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire more rapidly.
At the same time, we implore our elected officials to enact common sense gun reform and pass 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. 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.
We deeply believe that this country’s most precious gift is our children. They are our future. We must keep them safe. Sincerely,
Edward W. Stack Chairman & CEO DICK’S Sporting Goods
The NRA has yet to respond to the move, but given the neo-fascist tone it has adopted, whatever the gun rights group does, you can bet it won’t be subtle.