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Dick’s Sporting Goods Pulls Assault Rifles From Shelves And Wants Them Banned Altogether

One of the America’s largest gun retailers isn’t afraid of taking a stand in the fierce gun debate.

Photo by Robyn Beck/Getty Images.

THE GOOD NEWS:


One of the nation’s most prominent gun retailers is putting its money where its mouth is, and taking a real stand against gun violence.

After every mass shooting since Columbine in 1999, many have looked to their elected officials to do something about the violence, and they’ve achieved virtually nothing. But after a gunman killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14, things are beginning to look different.

While U.S. politicians are spinning their wheels and suggesting ridiculous fixes for the country’s mass shooting epidemic, its youth are speaking out, and some of its biggest businesses are taking action.

Since the shooting, dozens of companies have cut ties with the National Rifle Association (NRA), including: First National Bank of Omaha, United Airlines, Hertz, MetLife, and Symantec.

Now, Dick’s Sporting Goods, one of America’s most prominent gun retailers (and GOOD Sports sponsor), is permanently changing its sales policy at more than 600 locations. While it stopped selling assault-style rifles at its namesake stores in 2012 after the Sandy Hook shooting, it’s now pulling them off the shelves at its 35 subsidiary Field & Stream locations and online. It’s also requiring all customers to be older than 21 to buy a firearm, and stopped selling high-capacity magazines.

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The company also taking a huge risk by taking a side in the country’s fierce control debate. Dick’s released a statement imploring elected officials to enact common sense gun reform and pass the following regulations:

— Ban assault-style firearms
— Raise the minimum age to purchase firearms to 21
— Ban high capacity magazines and bump stocks
— Require universal background checks that include relevant mental health information and previous interactions with the law
— Ensure a complete universal database of those banned from buying firearms
— Close the private sale and gun show loophole that waives the necessity of background checks

Dick’s CEO Ed Stack announced the decision on ABC’s Good Morning America on Wednesday, Feb. 28. During the interview, he admitted his company sold a shotgun to the Parkland shooter in November, although it wasn’t used in the massacre. “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 a gun like that.

The move was inspired, in part, by the brave students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who’ve made passionate calls for action in the wake of the shooting. “When we look at what those kids and the parents and the heroes in the school, what they did, our view was: If the kids can be brave enough to organize like this, we can be brave enough to get these [firearms] out of here,” Stack said.

Dick’s has a history of looking out for the interests of America’s youth. In 2014, the retailer launched a $25 million commitment to help fund youth sports across the country. It also created a campaign on Donors Choose where it will match up to $1.5 million in donations to help public and charter school sports teams.

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