The CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods announced Wednesday that his company will no longer sell assault-style rifles, a change he called a direct response to the Florida school shooting earlier this month and the student activism that followed.
“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,” Edward Stack said in a statement. “We have heard you. The nation has heard you.”
Stack also said that Dick’s will no longer sell high-capacity magazines and will raise the minimum gun-buying age to 21 in all of its stores. Dick’s made a similar announcement in 2012 after the Sandy Hook school shooting, ending the sale of AR-15s and similar weapons at its primary Dick’s-branded stores. But it continued to sell the guns at its Field and Stream stores. Now the weapons will be banned from all of the company’s stores, a change Stack said will be permanent.
Stack’s announcement follows the revelation that Nikolas Cruz, who killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, bought a shotgun at Dick’s last year. The gun wasn’t involved in the Parkland shooting, but, Stack said, “it came to us that we could have been a part of this story. We said, ‘We don’t want to be a part of this any longer.’”
The changes in Dick’s gun policies come with a set of policy recommendations for lawmakers, including a ban on assault-style weapons.
In his announcement, Stack sought to avoid the wrath of the NRA and its supporters. “We’re staunch supporters of the Second Amendment. I’m a gun owner myself,” he said. “We’ve just decided that based on what’s happened with these guns, we don’t want to be a part of this story and we’ve eliminated these guns permanently.”
But there are already calls for a boycott, the inevitability of which Stack seemed to acknowledge, saying, “We know that this isn’t going to make everyone happy.”