DICK’S Sporting Goods will no longer sell assault-style rifles like the one used in the Parkland, Fla. shooting on Feb. 14 that killed 17 people. In a statement issued Feb. 28, CEO Edward Stack revealed that DICK’S had sold a shotgun to the Parkland shooter, Nikolas Cruz, in November 2017. “It was not the gun, nor the type of gun, he used in the shooting,” said Stack. “But it could have been.”
Following the December 2012 Sandy Hook massacre, DICK’S took these rifles, also referred to as modern sporting rifles, off its shelves, but the retailer continued to sell them at its 35 Field & Stream stores. Now, in addition to removing the rifles from these locations, DICK’S will:
• No longer sell firearms to anyone under 21 years of age, regardless of local age limit laws;
• No longer sell high capacity magazines; and
• Will not sell bump stocks that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire more rapidly (the retailer does not currently sell these items).
It’s not clear how the DICK’S decision will affect its bottom line, since neither DICK’S nor its competitor Cabela’s, now owned by Bass Pro Shops, breaks out firearms sales in their financial reporting. “Over all, firearms sales for retailers and gun manufacturers have slumped since Donald J. Trump was elected president, as fears of stricter gun regulation receded,” reported the New York Times. “Firearm sales data for the United States is not readily available but background checks tumbled more than 8% last year, the largest fall since the FBI began keeping track in 1998.”
DICK’S CEO Calls For ‘Common-Sense’ Gun Reform
In his statement, Stack referred specifically to the Parkland shooting and the anti-violence activism it has spawned. “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,” he said. Stack also “implored” elected officials to enact “common-sense gun reform” that includes:
• A ban on assault-style firearms;
• Raising the minimum purchase age to 21;
• A ban on high capacity magazine and bump stocks;
• Requiring universal background checks that include relevant mental health information and previous interactions with the law;
• A complete universal database of those banned from buying firearms; and
• Closing the private sale and gun show loophole that waives the necessity of background checks.
“Some will say these steps can’t guarantee tragedies like Parkland will never happen again,” said Stack. “They may be correct — but if common-sense reform is enacted and even one life is saved, it will have been worth it.”