After 17 people were murdered in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the political debate about firearms is, once again, center stage. Yet nothing requiring legislation happens quickly. Now a major retailer of firearms is enacting its own set of policies, and it begins with the immediate removal of AR-15s from its stores.
Dick’s Sporting Goods announced Wednesday morning that it was immediately ending sales of all “assault-style” rifles. “Assault-style” is an ambiguous term. We know Dick’s includes in made-up category the AR-15.
Dick’s also plans to stop the sale of standard magazines, which the company calls “high-capacity,” and they also plan to limit all firearms sales to those 21 and older.
This move by Dick’s is seen by many as a publicity stunt meant to gain favor from the portion of their customer base who are demanding change in firearms policy. After all, despite the shocking killings in Parkland, Florida, rifles (all rifles, not just the demonized AR-15), account for an incredibly low percentage of fatalities in this county every year.
The symbolic move by Dick’s, though, is a feel-good gesture, though, for those who feel like the root of the problem is the dreaded AR-15.
And Dick’s is not alone. Other companies have been eager to avoid the negative attention that comes from their association with the firearms industry or the groups that support it.
“Late last week, after coming under attack on social media for their ties to the National Rifle Association,” CNBC writes, “a number of major companies, including Hertz car rental, MetLife insurance and Delta Air Lines, publicly ended those relationships, issuing brief, carefully phrased statements.”
Dick’s, though, has contemplated this move before. They stopped selling some guns after the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook. Edward Stack, chief executive of Dick’s, explained why this was the time to act.
“When we saw what happened in Parkland, we were so disturbed and upset,” Mr. Stack said in an interview (below) Tuesday evening. “We love these kids and their rallying cry, ‘enough is enough.’ It got to us.”
“We’re going to take a stand and step up and tell people our view and, hopefully, bring people along into the conversation.”
Dick’s sod a gun to the Parkland shooter. They found this in a review of their records. It was a shotgun, though, and not the AR-15 he used in the shooting.
“But it came to us that we could have been a part of this story,” he said. “We said, ‘We don’t want to be a part of this any longer,'” said Mr. Stack.
As is typical in these instances, Stack would like everyone to know that he still supports the Second Amendment. And he expects this to hurt business.
“The whole hunting business is an important part of our business, and we know there is going to be backlash on this,” said Mr. Stack. “But we’re willing to accept that.”
He added, “If the kids in Parkland are being brave enough to stand up and do this, we can be brave enough to stand up with them.”