Dick’s Sporting Goods, which is widely regarded as one of the largest gun retailers in the country, made a major announcement on Wednesday morning. The company revealed it will no longer sell assault-style rifles in any of its stores. It has also decided to stop selling guns to those under the age of 21.
Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO Ed Stack appeared on Good Morning America early Wednesday to announce the company’s decision. He said the recent school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida played a big role in the company deciding to move away from selling assault-style rifles and placing age restrictions on gun purchases. Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old who killed 17 people during the shooting, reportedly bought a gun at a Dick’s Sporting Goods in 2017. It was not the same gun used in the deadly shooting.
"Based on what’s happened and looking at those kids and those parents, it moved us all unimaginably," Stack said on GMA. "To think about the loss and the grief that those kids and those parents had, we said, 'We need to do something.' And we’re taking these guns out of all of our stores permanently."
Stack said the company reconsidered its position on assault-style rifles after taking a look at how easy it was for Cruz to obtain a gun legally at Dick’s Sporting Goods.
"We did everything by the book," Stack said. "We did everything that the law required and still he was able to buy a gun. 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.'"
Dick’s Sporting Goods will put their new gun measures into place immediately. The company is also banning the sale of high-capacity magazines.
This is not the first time Dick’s Sporting Goods has distanced itself from assault-style rifles. In the aftermath of the 2012 school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut that killed 26 elementary school students and teachers, the company suspended sales of assault-style rifles. But the ban was only temporary, and the company continued selling assault-style rifles in its Field & Stream-branded stores.
Stack said the company is not planning to change course again this time around. He also said the company is prepared to deal with any backlash that comes along with its decision.
"We know that this isn’t going to make everyone happy," Stack said, before referencing the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. "When we take a look at what those kids and the parents and the heroes in the school, what they did, our view was if the kids can be brave enough to organize like this, we can be brave enough to take these [assault-style rifles] out of here."
Dick’s Sporting Goods and Stack released a long statement on its new firearms policy on Wednesday. You can read it below.