UPDATE 2: Dick’s has released a statement about its stance regarding the sale of firearms. “Even as strong supporters of the Second Amendment, we feel now is the time to have meaningful discussion about common sense reform with the intent of finding a solution,” a statement from the company said, via ABC News. “We promise to keep the conversation going.”
UPDATE 1: Walmart has followed suit in raising the age restriction for purchasing guns in its stores to 21 on the heels of Dick’s Sporting Goods announcement to do the same, CNBC reports. In Walmart’s announcement on Wednesday, it said it made its decision in light of recent events and that it would institute the policy “as quickly as possible.” Walmart said it had ended the sale of some sporting rifles such as the AR-15 in 2015 and the company said it doesn’t sell bump stocks or high-capacity magazines.
Dick’s Sporting Goods announced Wednesday that it would discontinue its sale of assault-style rifles in the aftermath of the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida. The chain added that they would no longer sell firearms to people under 21 years old.
“When we saw what happened in Parkland, we were so disturbed and upset,” Dick’s CEO Edward Stark told the New York Times. “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.”
The chain’s announcement comes after it was revealed that Nikolas Cruz, the mass shooter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, legally purchased a gun from Dick’s, although that wasn’t the firearm used in the massacre. “We don’t want to be a part of a mass shooting,” Stack said.
Dick’s Sporting Goods previously halted sales of assault-style rifles – including the AR-15, the weapon of choice in many mass shootings – following the school shooting in Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, but sales of those firearms continued at the chain’s hunting-focused offshoot Field & Stream. However, Stack said that their discontinuation of assault-style rifles sales would be companywide.
Stack, a hunter himself, added that while he is a supporter of the Second Amendment, common sense gun laws are needed. “The whole hunting business is an important part of our business, and we know there is going to be backlash on this. But we’re willing to accept that,” Stack said. “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 2015, Walmart announced that the company would stop the sale of assault weapons, although they insisted their decision was financially – and not politically – motivated. ” The decision was completely based on what customers are buying and what they want,” a Walmart spokesperson said at the time.
The New York Times noted that firearms sales have gone down in general since Donald Trump took office as gun control concerns among buyers have subsided.