As many companies are rushing to dissociate themselves with the NRA in the wake of the Stoneman Douglas High School school shooting, Dick’s Sporting Goods has announced that it will no longer be selling assault style rifles or high-capacity magazines at any of its retail stores, including the company’s offshoot hunting retail chain, Field & Stream. Additionally, the retailer has pledged not to sell any gun to anyone under 21 years of age.
It’s a huge move coming from one of the largest sporting goods retailers in the country, and the company’s 63-year-old chief executive, Edward Stack, is making it clear in no uncertain terms that the change of policy is in response to the Parkland tragedy.
“When we saw what happened in Parkland, we were so disturbed and upset,” said Stack, whose father founded Dick’s in 1948, in an interview with the New York Times on Tuesday evening. “We love these kids and their rallying cry, ‘enough is enough.’ It got to us. We’re going to take a stand and step up and tell people our view and, hopefully, bring people along into the conversation.”
Part of the reason for Stack’s decision was learning that the alleged gunman Nikolas Cruz had legally obtained a gun from the chain in November, although it was not the particular AR-15 used in the massacre. He is also advocating for common sense gun reform and calling on elected officials to follow suite.
“But it came to us that we could have been a part of this story,’’ he said. “We said, ‘We don’t want to be a part of this any longer,’” said Mr. Stack. “The whole hunting business is an important part of our business, and we know there is going to be backlash on this,” said Mr. Stack. “But we’re willing to accept that.”
He added, “If the kids in Parkland are being brave enough to stand up and do this, we can be brave enough to stand up with them.”
In 2012, Dick’s stopped selling assault style rifles after the shooting at Sandy Hook, but shortly after, quietly began selling them at Field & Stream. Stack claims that this time the changes will be permanent.
The company also released the following statements on Twitter Wednesday morning, writing that while their thoughts and prayers are with all of the victims and their loved ones, “thoughts and prayers are not enough.”
(Via New York Times)