A big reason for the decision from Dick’s Sporting Good’s management to stop selling assault weapons at their Field & Stream hunting stores is that the shooter at the high school in Parkland, Florida bought a shotgun from one of their stores.
It wasn’t the gun he used to murder 17 people, but, Ed Stack, CEO of Dick’s Sporting Good’s, told Good Morning America it was a wake up call for him.
“We did everything by the book. We did everything that the law required and still he was able to buy a gun,” said Stack. “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.”
This decision is a bit of déjà vu for Dick’s. Back in 2012, after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Dick’s stopped selling assault weapons in their sporting goods stores. But in 2013, they started a new chain, Field & Stream, that’s devoted more to hunting and camping and sold assault weapons there instead.
Dick’s Sporting Goods started in Binghamton, but the closest Field & Stream stores are in Scranton and Elmira.
In the parking lot of the Elmira store, Tom Romeyn, Jasper, Ny., leans against his pick up truck, and his beagle-black lab mix, named Remmy (named for gun manufacturer Remington Arms) hangs his head out the window.
Romeyn likes to hunt, but he doesn’t think you need an assault weapon to do it.
“Five rounds oughta be enough, you know? Buy a hunting rifle,” he said.
On the other hand, he understands that some people, especially younger people might want to use assault weapons. He thinks it’s a generational difference.
“I have two boys who are in the Air Force. They’ve grown up going through basic training with the M4. People my father’s age went out of World War II, they used the .30-06 and the garands and bolt action rifles.
“Everyone come back from the war, that’s what they hunted with. I kinda understand why a lot of the younger generation wants them because that’s what they know, but I don’t think they’re necessary,” said Romeyn.
Other shoppers at the Field & Stream, like Ambrose Hill, Sayre, Pa., think the Dick’s decision misses the point.
“They’re talking about school safety – why is it when my kids get on a bus, there’s no seat belts on it? There’s no airbags?” said Hill. “We should be worried about safety for our children in aspects of that before saying, ‘take guns away from everyone else.’
“It’s all politics. It has nothing to do with actual safety.”
That politics of gun control, is still being hashed out – by survivors, activists and New York lawmakers and Congress.
Dick’s Sporting Goods said the decision to stop selling assault weapons would take effect immediately. As of Tuesday morning, they were already off the shelves at the Elmira store.