Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. (NYSE:DKS) said on Wednesday it will no longer sell assault-style rifles and will ban the sale of firearms to people under the age of 21.
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The changes, which will take immediate effect, come after the Valentine’s Day massacre that killed 17 — mostly students — at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old former student who was expelled from the school, allegedly entered the building and killed 17 people, mostly students, with an AR-15. Cruz, who legally obtained the weapon, was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and is being held without bail.
“As we looked to what happened down in Parkland [Florida], we were so disturbed and saddened by what happened we felt we really needed to do something,” Dick’s Chairman and CEO Ed Stack told “Good Morning America.”
Cruz purchased a shotgun at a Dick’s store last November, though it was not used during the shooting.
“We did everything by the book. We did everything the law required and still he was able to buy a gun. 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 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012, in which the gunman used an assault-style rifle, Dick’s suspended sales of modern sporting files from its stores nationwide. However, the firearms were sold at Field & Stream, an outdoors store and subsidiary of Dick’s developed in 2013. Under the new policy, the rifles will no longer be sold at any of the 35 Field & Stream locations.
In an open letter to consumers, Dick’s also said it will end the sale of high-capacity magazines and “never have and never will sell bump stocks,” a device that allows semi-automatic weapons to fire at a more rapid rate. The company will also call on lawmakers to “enact common sense gun reform” and pass regulations to ban assault-style firearms, raise the minimum wage to purchase firearms to 21, ban high-capacity magazines, require universal background checks that include relevant mental health information and previous interactions with the law. It also said it would ask politicians to ensure a complete universal database of those banned from buying firearms and close the private sale and gun show loophole that waives the necessity of background checks.
“We support and respect the Second Amendment, and we recognize and appreciate that the vast majority of gun owners in this country are responsible, law-abiding citizens,” Stack explained in the letter. “But we have to help solve the problem that’s in front of us. Gun violence is an epidemic that’s taking the lives of too many people, including the brightest hope for the future of America – our kids.”