NEW YORK (CBS/AP) — Dick’s Sporting Goods will immediately end sales of assault-style rifles and high capacity magazines at all of its stores and ban the sale of all guns to anyone under 21 years old.
The announcement Wednesday comes two weeks after the school massacre in Parkland, Florida.
“When we saw what the kids were going through and the grief of the parents and the kids who were killed in Parkland, we felt we needed to do something,” Chairman and CEO Edward Stack said on “Good Morning America.”
Dick’s, a major gun retailer, had cut off sales of assault-style weapons at Dick’s stores following the Sandy Hook school shooting. But Dick’s owns dozens of its Field & Stream stores, where there has been no such ban in place.
In a letter released Wednesday, Stack wrote, “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. But we have to help solve the problem that’s in front of us. Gun violence is an epidemic that’s taking the lives of too many people, including the brightest hope for the future of America — our kids.”
Jim Wallace of the Massachusetts Gun Owners Action League said the move was weak.
“It’s kind of cowardly and very divisive because we’re not talking about the issues that need to be discussed, which in Parkland –like Newtown, like Aurora– was severe mental health issues that simply aren’t being addressed,” he said.
On the contrary, customers WBZ spoke with supported the store.
“I’m thrilled. I’m proud. My hat’s off to them,” said one man.
“I think that if more and more companies, if it hits them in their pocketbooks, if they feel it from their money end of it, more will be done and maybe the NRA will put some more restrictions in,” a woman said.
Another shopper said she had not been to Dick’s in a decade but on Wednesday she came out “because I heard what they did this morning on gun control and I appreciate it.”
Nickolas Cruz, the gunman who killed 17 people in Florida, mostly students, had purchased a shotgun at a Dick’s store in November 2017, Stack said.
“It was not the gun, nor type of gun, he used in the shooting,” Stack wrote. “But it could have been. Clearly this indicates on so many levels that the systems in place are not effective to protect our kids and our citizens.”
Stack on Wednesday called on elected officials to ban assault-style firearms, bump stocks and high capacity magazines and raise the minimum age to buy firearms to 21. He said universal background checks should be required, and there should be a complete universal database of those banned from buying firearms. He also called for the closure of the private sale and gun show loophole that waives the necessity of background checks.
Stack said on “Good Morning America” that Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. is prepared for any potential backlash, but will not change its policies on gun sales.
Walmart also announced Wednesday it will no longer sell firearms and ammunition to people younger than 21. Walmart stopped selling AR-15s, and other semi-automatic weapons back in 2015.
The retailer says it is also removing items resembling assault-style rifles from its website.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)