Dick's Sporting Goods Inc., one of the largest retailers of its kind in the United States, is taking new steps to curtail the sale of firearms in its 700-plus stores, including ending sales of assault-style rifles and banning the sale of guns to people younger than 21, the company announced Wednesday morning.
The move follows the revelation that Nikolas Cruz, the alleged gunman who killed 17 during a Feb. 14 shooting rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, bought a gun at Dick's 2017. It was not the gun nor the kind of gun used in the massacre, however.
[Click HERE for a full list of stores in Georgia]
The new measures, which go into effect Wednesday, were announced on "Good Morning America" by Dick's chairman and CEO Ed Stack. Aside from Dick's, the Pittsburgh-based, publicly traded company also operates stores under the Gold Galaxy, Field & Stream, True Runner and Chelsea Collective banners.
These are the Dick's Sporting Goods Inc. locations in Georgia:
• Columbus Park
"We looked at what happened and we were truly deeply moved and disturbed by those events," Stack said. "When we saw what the kids were going through and the grief of the parents and the kids who were killed in Parkland, we felt we needed to do something."
In a letter to consumers, Stack outlined the new four-point policy, which is as follows:
- Assault-style rifles, also referred to as modern sporting rifles, will no longer be sold. Stacks noted that the company had already removed them from all Dick's stores after the Sandy Hook massacre, but they will now be removed from all 35 Field & Stream stores.
- Firearms will no longer be sold to anyone under the age of 21.
- High capacity magazines will no longer be sold.
- And finally, "We never have and never will sell bump stocks that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire more rapidly.
In the letter, Stack explained, "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. 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."
Stack admitted to "GMA," though, "We know this is a complicated issue. We hope to spur a conversation."
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He added, "We hope there will be others who are involved in this who come to the table and try to solve this problem. We know this will be very difficult to solve. Lawmakers will have to sit down with the intent to solve this problem."
And in a nod to the surviving students, many of whom are responsible for mobilizing and organizing rallies, marches and social media-inspired boycotts, Stack said, "These kids were brave enough to stand up and, so we should be brave enough to stand up, and I hope our lawmakers will be brave enough to do that."
Below is the letter from Dick's Sporting Goods, Inc. CEO and chairman Ed Stack:
We at DICK’S Sporting Goods are deeply disturbed and saddened by the tragic events in Parkland. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the victims and their loved ones.
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. 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. 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. Following all of the rules and laws, we sold a shotgun to the Parkland shooter in November of 2017. It was not the gun, nor type of gun, he used in the shooting. But it could have been.
Clearly this indicates on so many levels that the systems in place are not effective to protect our kids and our citizens.
We believe it’s time to do something about it.
Beginning today, DICK’S Sporting Goods is committed to the following:
We will no longer sell assault-style rifles, also referred to as modern sporting rifles. We had already removed them from all DICK’S stores after the Sandy Hook massacre, but we will now remove them from sale at all 35 Field & Stream stores.
We will no longer sell firearms to anyone under 21 years of age. We will no longer sell high capacity magazines. We never have and never will sell bump stocks that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire more rapidly.
At the same time, we implore our 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
We hope others join us in this effort to let our kids know that their pleas are being taken seriously. Some will say these steps can’t guarantee tragedies like Parkland will never happen again. They may be correct – but if common sense reform is enacted and even one life is saved, it will have been worth it.
We deeply believe that this country’s most precious gift is our children. They are our future. We must keep them safe. Sincerely,
Edward W. Stack Chairman & CEO DICK’S Sporting Goods
There's a Dick's Store in nearly every part of metro Atlanta. Channel 2's Dave Huddleston spoke to owners of other local stores that sell guns to see if they'll follow suit.
The owner of Adventure Outdoors said he has no plans to restrict gun sales for any reason. He said what needs to happen is better communication between law enforcement agencies.
"I think we can look back at the shootings that have happened and we could've done something about it," said Jay Wallace.
Wallace said every time there is a mass tragedy, we learn one police agency could have better communicated with another agency and tragedy might have been avoided.
"If someone is being brought to their attention, someone making threats verbally or the internet, they need to be able to access it and look into it and try to get that person some help before they hurt themselves or somebody else," Wallace said.
Outside a Kennesaw Dick's, Huddleston talked with customer James Brandon who said he likes the policy change.
"As the father of two kids, one 13, who is an enthusiast for hunting and all that kind of style, I'm absolutely for that move," Brandon said.
But Stephen Burns disagrees.
"I think it's going to be market suicide for them, given the demographic that Dick's sells to," Burns said.
Wallace said Dick's has done similar gun restrictions in the past.
"And when things slowed down a little bit and it wasn't in the public eye they brought them back out so, it's pretty much a publicity stunt," he said.
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