“I couldn’t be more impressed with this company,” Mom’s Demand Action founder Shannon Watts tweeted Wednesday.
“[Dick’s Sporting Goods] is doing what this administration hasn’t: Taken action to address gun violence. Please thank them online and offline.”
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) March 13, 2019
The sports retail giant banned all “assault-style rifles” just two weeks after the shooting in Parkland, Florida last year that left 17 dead.
As CNN reported this week, CEO Edward Stack’s decision came as a surprise. He’s a hunter, a gun owner, and a second amendment supporter.
But the Parkland shooting deeply affected him, especially after it was revealed the Parkland shooter bought a gun from a Dick’s store. It wasn’t the gun that was ultimately used in the shooting, but still, the CEO privately met with the families of the victims and hired two anti-gun violence lobbyists.
“You know everybody talks about thoughts and prayers going out to them. That’s great. That doesn’t really do anything,” he said at the time. “We felt we needed to take a stand and do this.”
Fred Guttenberg, who lost his daughter Jamie in the shooting and has since become an advocate, praised the company twice this week, even before the news of the gun sale halt.
“I have spoken often of my appreciation for [Dick’s] Sporting Goods and the stand that they took following Parkland and the murder of my daughter and 16 others,” Guttenberg wrote on Twitter Monday. “Thank you to this amazing company for its responsible leadership.”
Dick's to stop selling guns in 125 stores amid sales fallout from ban. Now, they will replace guns with items that will sell and return higher margins and enhance our safety at the same time.https://t.co/c4D6IhbpCJ #FoxBusiness
— Fred Guttenberg (@fred_guttenberg) March 12, 2019
Ryan Deitsch, a Parkland shooting survivor and March For Our Lives advocate, also thanked the sports retail store.
“You responded to tragedy with action & carried out your word,” he tweeted Tuesday. “May other businesses soon follow the path you’ve forged towards compassionate capitalism.”
Thank you @DICKS for being an ally in the effort to reduce gun violence.
You responded to tragedy with action & carried out your word.
May other businesses soon follow the path you’ve forged towards compassionate capitalism.https://t.co/rr3uWItNd5
— Ryan Deitsch (@Ryan_Deitsch) March 13, 2019
Anti-gun violence groups Newtown Action, Everytown, Mom’s Demand Action, and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence all also thanked Dick’s this week, but some on Twitter were not as happy to hear the news.
I'm done with Dick's Sporting Goods. By removing all guns from 125 stores they are telling conservatives & gun rights supporters we are not welcome. This will hurt sales. Time to boycott & shop somewhere else. Sick of businesses that put politics above customers. #MAGA #guns
— Jeff Kuhner (@TheKuhnerReport) March 13, 2019
According to the New York Times, Stack said the decision to pull all guns and hunting equipment from the 125 stores was to make stores more “productive.” Dick’s already made the move with ten stores earlier this year, and saw an overall rise in sales.
There are 729 Dick’s Sporting Goods stores nationwide, meaning guns and hunting gear will still be available in most locations. But Stack hinted that a full-company gun sale pull-out can be in Dick’s future.