Dick’s Sporting Goods, one of the largest U.S. sports retailers, on Wednesday said its stores will stop selling all assault-style rifles and will require gun buyers to be at least 21.
The moves take effect immediately at Dick’s more than 700 stores, marking a dramatic shift by a major seller of weapons and hunting gear in the aftermath of the Feb. 14 gun massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
“As we looked at what happened down in Parkland, we were so disturbed and saddened by what happened. We felt we really needed to do something,” the company’s CEO, Ed Stack, said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
The Parkland shooter used an AR-15 rifle to kill 17 people. That style weapon is among the firearms Dick’s will no longer sell. In addition, Dick’s stores will stop selling high-capacity ammunition magazines and will raise the age requirement for gun buyers to 21.
Many companies have taken action since the shooting amid rising demands for tougher gun laws. Corporate entities, from airlines to rental car chains, have ended partnerships with the National Rifle Association.
Stack said Dick’s discovered the Parkland gunman bought a gun at one of its stores in November. It was not the weapon used in the shooting.
“We did everything by the book. We did everything that the law required and still he was able to buy a gun,” Stack said. “When we looked at that, we said, ‘The systems that are in place across the board just aren’t effective enough to keep us from selling someone a gun like that.’”
Following the 2012 gun massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, the company removed assault-style weapons from its main stores, but continued to sell them in its Field and Stream stores.
Stack said Wednesday’s decision will be permanent and will apply to all of the company’s stores.
The CEO also called on Congress to pass legislation to prevent gun massacres.
“We hope that they come together with the intent of really finding a solution to this problem, as opposed to just talking about it, knowing that they’re never going to do anything, to just speak to their base,” Stack said.
Stack emphasized that the company supports the Second Amendment and gun ownership, and that preventing gun violence and promoting gun rights can go hand and hand.
“We’ve just decided, based on what happened, and with these guns, we don’t want to be part of this story,” he said.