Dick’s Sporting Goods, the nation’s largest sporting goods retailer, will stop selling assault-style weapons like the one used in the Parkland, Florida, high school shooting.
The company said it will also raise the minimum age for all gun sales to 21. Dick’s will not sell high-capacity magazines that allow shooters to fire far more rounds than traditional weapons without reloading, as well as other accessories used with weapons similar to the AR-15.
The company expects criticism from gun rights advocates as well as loss of sales, Dick’s CEO Edward Stack said on CNN’s “New Day.”
“The hunt business is an important part of the business, no doubt about it. And we know there will be some backlash,” he said.
But he said he and other executives at the company were moved by the Parkland school shooting survivors’ push for gun control measures.
“As we sat and talked about it with our management team, it was — to a person — that this is what we need to do,” he said. “These kids talk about enough is enough. We concluded if these kids are brave enough to organize and do what they’re doing, we should be brave enough to take this stand.”
The Parkland shooter, Nikolas Cruz, bought a gun at Dick’s. The company said he did not buy the AR-15 that he used in the school shooting there. But Stack said when the company learned about that sale “we had a pit in our stomach.”
“We don’t want to be a part of this story any longer,” he said.
The company stopped selling those military-style semiautomatic weapons in its Dick’s-branded stores after the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in 2012, but it continued to sell those weapons at its 35 Field and Stream stores.
Now it will pull those weapons from all of its stores.
Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer and a major seller of firearms, announced it would stop selling the military-style semiautomatic weapons in August 2015.
There have been widespread calls for tougher gun control measures in the week since the school shooting.
In a letter, Stack said the company has heard those calls.
“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,” he said in a letter released Wednesday. “But we have to help solve the problem that’s in front of us.”
Stack, 63, is the son of the chain’s father. He has been CEO for 34 years.
The company said it has never sold bump stocks, which allow semi-automatic weapons to fire as if they are automatic weapons. Stack called for a nationwide ban on such items.
He also urged Congress to sign into law the restrictions his company has put in place, along with tougher background checks on all gun sales.
“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,” he said in the letter.
The company does not break out how much revenue or profit it gets from firearm sales. The chain has a total of 852 stores. Unlike many other traditional retailers, it is adding — rather than closing — stores.