Updated at 8:40 a.m. ET
Dick’s Sporting Goods, one of the largest sports retailers in the U.S., has announced it is immediately ending its sales of assault-style rifles and requiring all customers to be older than 21 to buy a firearm at its stores.
Additionally, the company will no longer sell high capacity magazines.
CEO Ed Stack announced the decision Wednesday on ABC’s Good Morning America. He said the decision was inspired partly by the revelation that the 19-year-old Parkland high school shooter purchased a weapon at a Dick’s store. Stack said the particular firearm — a shotgun — was not used in the shooting, but he added that this did not lessen the impact the revelation had on them.
“We did everything by the book. We did everything that the law required, and still he was able to buy a gun. And 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,” Stack said.
“And so we’ve decided we’re not going to sell the assault-type rifles any longer.”
The company was founded in Binghamton in 1948. It’s current headquarters are in Pittsburgh and the company operates more than 715 locations. Dick’s is one of the largest chain retailers of firearms in the U.S. It had already pulled assault-style rifles from stores after the Sandy Hook shooting; now Dick’s will also stop selling the weapons at subsidiary Field & Stream stores.
Stack said the decision to eliminate assault-style rifles is permanent.
“We’re staunch supporters of the Second Amendment. I’m a gun owner myself,” Stack said Wednesday. “We’ve just decided that based on what’s happened and with these guns, we don’t want to be part of this story.”
The company issued a statement Wednesday morning. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the victims and their loved ones,” the company said. “But thoughts and prayers are not enough. We have tremendous respect and admiration for the students organizing and making their voices heard regarding gun violence in schools and elsewhere in our country.
“We have heard you. The nation has heard you. … the systems in place are not effective to protect our kids and our citizens.”
The company reiterated its support for the Second Amendment, but continued, “we have to help solve the problem that’s in front of us. Gun violence is an epidemic.”
In a statement, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said, “”I commend Dick’s Sporting Goods, a member of the New York family, for their leadership in taking smart measures to keep weapons out of the wrong hands. Founded in Binghamton, this New York-bred company is taking a principled stand and setting an example of responsible corporate leadership for businesses across the nation.”
In addition to changing its own policies, the company also issued a plea to elected officials to enact “common sense gun reform,” specifically calling for 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