Ed Stack, CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods, told Good Morning America this morning that his company will no longer sell AR-15s, the type of weapon used by the shooter who killed 17 people February 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
While the decision will have no effect at the Dick’s Sporting Goods stores themselves, which stopped the sale of AR-15s following the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in 2012, it will remove the weapon from the company’s Field and Stream stores.
Stack said Dick’s Sporting Goods will also no longer sell guns to anyone under 21 and will not sell high capacity magazines. He stressed that Dick’s has never sold bump stocks, which enable a semi-automatic weapon to be turned into an automatic weapon.
One major difference between the Dick’s Sporting Goods announcement and reactions by other major companies after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting was the direct approach Stack took with the announcement.
The Dick’s CEO made it absolutely clear during his Good Morning America announcement that the gun-related decisions were made completely as a result of the shooting.
The New York Times noted that recent decisions made by companies such as Hertz, Delta Air Lines, and MetLife Insurance to sever ties with the National Rifle Association have been accompanied by measured statements. Those decisions were made after a public outcry and threatened boycotts by groups pushing gun control measures after the most recent mass shooting.
While the companies cutting ties to the National Rifle Association did not accompany those announcements with calls for more steps to be taken, the Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO also differentiated himself in that regard.
In a company media statement, Stack called on Congress to ban the sale of assault weapons, raise the age to purchase guns to 21, stop the sale of bump stocks. require universal background checks and close the private sale and gun show loopholes.
“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.”
Dick’s Sporting Goods became connected to the Parkland shooting story when it was discovered that the alleged shooter Nikolas Cruz bought a gun at a Dick’s store in 2017, though the weapon was not an AR-15 and was not used at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
In the media statement, Stack noted that the gun was sold legally and while it was not used in the Parkland shootings, “it could have been.”
Stack said when he learned of the connection and the possibility that the company could easily have had a gun it sold connected to a school shooting, the decision was made.
“We don’t want to be a part of this any longer.”
The guns have been removed from the shelves, Stack said. He stressed that his company still believes in the Second Amendment.
Dick’s Sporting Goods is not the first major retail outlet to remove AR-15s and assault weapons from its stores.
Walmart removed the items from its stores in 2015.