Activists seeking an end to the proliferation of military-style weapons scored a major victory in February, as Dick’s Sporting Goods announced they would no longer be carried in their stores, and several major retailers raised the age requirement to purchase a gun.
As CNN reports, the company had already dropped carbines with military-style appearances, like the AR-15, from its Dick’s branded stores in 2013. However, it still sold them in its Field & Stream hunting stores. The chain also still sold high-capacity magazines and other accessories that could make the weapons more lethal.
Now, none of its stores will carry either the rifles or accessories. And while Dick’s will still carry other kinds of guns, it will raise the minimum age of purchase to 21.
“Thoughts and prayers are not enough,” said Dick’s in a written statement announcing the decision.
The Parkland shooter, Nikolas Cruz, reportedly bought a shotgun at Dick’s. He did not buy the weapon used in the shooting there, but the company still wanted to act.
“We felt we really needed to do something,” said Dick’s CEO Edward Stack on “Good Morning America.” “We’ve decided not to sell these assault weapons any longer.”
Stack added that the company sold Cruz a gun “by the book.” He said he hopes Congress will now take action to put policies like his into law.
“We’re staunch supporters of the Second Amendment. I’m a gun owner myself,” said Stack. “But we’ve just decided that, based on what’s happened, and with these guns, we don’t want to be a part of this story.”
Chairman and CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods tells @GStephanopoulos why the company has decided to no longer sell assault style rifles or firearms to anyone under 21 years of age, and no longer sell high capacity magazines. pic.twitter.com/xiuMfqIZLd
— Good Morning America (@GMA) February 28, 2018
While Dick’s was the first to make an announcement about gun sales, other large retailers soon followed.
Walmart, which stopped selling assault-style rifles in 2015, announced they are raising the age requirement to purchase a gun. “Going forward, we are raising the age restriction for purchase of firearms and ammunition to 21 years of age,” Walmart said in a statement. Further, Walmart will stop selling items that look like assault-style rifles, “including nonlethal airsoft guns and toys.”
Not to be left out, another national brand followed suit, raising the minimum age to purchase firearms to 21. Kroger, which owns Fred Meyer stores, is the third major retailer to increase age requirements for gun purchases following the school shooting in Parkland.
These moves follow a successful boycott of the National Rifle Association’s business partners, which led to numerous companies dumping the gun lobby.
Numerous polls have shown a consistent trend in public opinion favoring commonsense gun control regulations. According to a new CNN poll, 70 percent of American favor stronger gun laws.
Even in places which were once Republican strongholds, like Orange County, support for Congress to take action on guns is extremely high. In Republican Rep. Mimi Walter’s district, a new poll shows 70 percent of voters want Congress to enact “strong new laws to reduce gun violence, including strong background checks and a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips.”
Walters, along with fellow Republican incumbents, Reps. Steve Knight (Palmdale) and Dana Rohrabacher (Costa Mesa), have “A” ratings from the NRA, and each has taken thousands of dollars from the gun lobby.
Little by little, the tide is turning. People want their communities and their children to be safe. And responsible companies — and lawmakers — are heeding the call.
Dan Desai Martin contributed to this article.