Dick's Sporting Goods Bans the Sale of Assault-Style Weapons & People Are Cheering


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When a 19-year-old with a gun killed 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida two weeks ago, it sparked a national movement. Students at the school began holding walk-outs and protests against gun violence, marches were organized to call for common sense gun laws, and companies that supported the National Rifle Association (NRA) began severing their ties with the pro-gun organization. Now, Dick's Sporting Goods, one of the largest sporting goods retailers in the country, just announced a ban on the sale of assault-style weapons, like the AR-15 used by the Florida shooter.

  • The retailer announced the changes to its gun sales with a powerful statement posted on its official Facebook page.

    "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," the statement reads. "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."

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    To combat the problem, Dick's is planning to stop selling assault-style, or modern sporting, rifles and high-capacity magazines. It's also refusing to sell to anyone under 21, regardless of local laws. In addition to the new rules, the statement also calls on legislators to ban assault style weapons, high-capacity magazines, and bumpstocks, as well as raise the legal age requirement for firearm ownership and establish a universal database of those banned from purchasing guns.

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  • The statement immediately went viral and pissed off a lot of Dick's customers.

  • Many gun owners see the move as a violation of their personal freedoms and vowed to stop shopping at the store.

  • But the negative comments about the changes were nearly drowned out by positive support from people online.

    Parents, students, teachers, and even doctors thanked the company for taking common sense steps to stop gun violence. Actor Ben Platt tweeted, "Wow, thank you for what you're doing, @DICK'S. You're on the right side of history! I'm literally gonna force myself to actually play a sport just so I can buy sporting goods from you."

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  • Shockingly, Dick's CEO Ed Stack says the new gun rules were influenced by the fact that the Florida shooter actually purchased a gun from the retailer last November.

    It was not the weapon used in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting. Nevertheless, Stack says it left him and his colleagues unsettled.

    "We actually sold the shooter a shotgun in November of last year," Stack told CNN's New Day on Wednesday morning. "We looked at that and found out we did this, we had a pit in our stomach. … We did everything by the book that we were supposed to do from a legal standpoint. We followed everything we were supposed to do, and somehow, this kid was still able to buy a gun from us. We said we don't want to be a part of this story any longer."

  • It should be noted that this isn't the first time Dick's has vowed to stop selling certain weapons.

    iStock.com/artas

    According to Think Progress, Dick's actually pledged to remove all assault-style weapons from stores following the deadly mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012. It later started selling them again through a sister store called Field & Stream. This time, Stack says that won't be the case.

    "We're taking these guns out of all our stores, permanently," Stack told Good Morning America. "We hope that Congress will come together … and we hope they come together with the intent of really finding a solution, as opposed to knowing they are never going to do anything, just speak to their base."

  • The retailer's decision is controversial for sure, but it's a significant step in furthering our national conversation about stopping gun violence.

    Assault-style weapons, like the AR-15, seem to be the weapon of choice for mass shooters, and the US sees more mass shootings than any other developed country. According to the Guardian, there have been 1,624 mass shootings -- defined as shootings where more than four people are shot, not including the shooter -- in the US in the past 1,870 days.

    We can argue forever about the best way to stop these shootings from taking place -- and we likely will argue about it forever. But the only thing that's going to stop gun violence from killing our kids is to stop talking and actually do something. Whether people agree with the steps taken or not, today, Dick's Sporting Goods did exactly that.

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