Dick’s responds to Parkland teens – won’t sell AR-15s anymore
Dick’s Sporting Goods has announced that it will no longer sell the AR-15 rifle and similar firearms after the recent murder of 17 students and teachers at a high school in Parkland, FL. Teens who survived the attack have led a public campaign calling on state and federal lawmakers to enact legislation that may prevent similar mass shootings from happening in the future.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the victims and their loved ones. But thoughts and prayers are not enough,” said Edward Stack, Dick’s chairman and CEO, in a statement. “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 retailer, which stopped selling the same class of rifles in its Dick’s stores after the Sandy Hook Elementary School attack in 2012 that took the lives of 20 small children and six teachers, has stocked them in its 35 Field & Stream stores. While Dick’s had announced a suspension of sales following Sandy Hook, Mr. Stack, whose father founded the company, said the latest decision is permanent.
In an interview on Good Morning America, Mr. Stack said the company researched its records to see if it had sold the weapon in the Parkland murders. While it did not, the internal investigation found that it had sold a gun to the accused in 2017.
“We did everything by the book,” Mr. Stack. “We did everything that 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.’”
Dick’s also announced that it is raising the minimum age to purchase firearms and ammunition in its stores from 18 to 21. It also said it will no longer sell high-capacity magazines.
Mr. Stack, who is a gun owner and a longtime donor to the Republican party, called on Congress to pass legislation that would:
- Ban the sale of “assault-style firearms” along with bump stocks and high-capacity magazines;
- Raise the age to purchase guns to 21 and;
- Require universal background checks including “relevant mental health information and previous interactions with the law.”
Walmart, which ended sales of sporting rifles such as the AR-15 in 2015, also announced that it would no longer sell firearms and ammunition to anyone under 21. In a statement, the company said that it also does not sell handguns except in Alaska and that it does not offer high-capacity magazines or bump stocks. Walmart said it has a system in place to monitor its online marketplace to restrict the sale of these items by third parties, as well.
In its statement, Walmart said it prohibits the sale of a firearm if no background check has been approved, even though federal law allows a sale if there has been no response to a request within three business days.
Walmart also said it is removing items from its website, including non-lethal airsoft guns and toys, that look like the AR-15 and similar rifles.
- Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO on decision to no longer sell assault-style rifles: ‘We don’t want to be a part of this story’ – ABC News
- A letter from Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO Ed Stack – The Associated Press/The Washington Post
- Walmart Statement on Firearms Policy – Walmart
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Given the current political climate surrounding gun control, what do you think is the best business response from retailers that sell firearms? Will Dick’s Sporting Goods ultimately gain or lose more customers as a result of its decision regarding firearm sales in its stores?