Dick’s Sporting Goods, a major firearms retailer in the United States, just announced sweeping policy changes in the wake of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting that left 17 dead.
Chairman and CEO Edward W. Stack announced the changes in an open letter posted to the company’s website.
“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,” Stack wrote. “But thoughts and prayers are not enough.”
Stack explained how the company supports the Second Amendment but was concerned that it sold a firearm to the Parkland shooter:
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,” Stack added. “We believe it’s time to do something about it.”
As of February 28, Dick’s Sporting Goods will no longer sell “assault-style rifles,” also known as modern sporting rifles. Dick’s had previously ceased the sale of those rifles in their main stores after the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, but the new policy will also cease sales in Field & Stream stores owned by Dick’s.
The sporting goods chain will also no longer sell high-capacity magazines and is enacting a new policy restricting firearm sales to buyers over the age of 21.
The company also called on legislators to enact “common sense gun reform” and gave a list of policy proposals mirroring those that Stack is voluntarily enacting on his own stores, including a ban on the sale of “assault-style rifles,” a ban on high-capacity magazines, and raising the minimum age to purchase all firearms to 21.
“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,” Stack wrote.
“We deeply believe that this country’s most precious gift is our children. They are our future. We must keep them safe.”