NEW YORK - Dick's Sporting Goods, one of the nation's largest outdoor gear retailers, is ending the sale of assault-style rifles in stores.
The move comes two weeks after police say Nikolas Cruz, 19, shot and killed 17 people at a high school in Parkland. Cruz bought a gun at Dick's, but the company said he did not buy the AR-15 that he used in the school shooting at one of its stores.
The company stopped selling military-style semiautomatic weapons in its Dick's-branded stores after the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in 2012, but it continued to sell those weapons at its 35 Field and Stream stores.
There have been widespread calls for tougher gun control measures in the week since the school shooting.
Dick's said beginning Wednesday, several changes will be enforced at its stores.
- We will no longer sell assault-style rifles, also referred to as modern sporting rifles. We had already removed them from all DICK’S stores after the Sandy Hook massacre, but we will now remove them from sale at all 35 Field & Stream stores.
- We will no longer sell firearms to anyone under 21 years of age.
- We will no longer sell high capacity magazines.
- We never have and never will sell bump stocks that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire more rapidly.
At the same time, we implore our elected officials to enact common sense gun reform and pass the following regulations:
- Ban assault-style firearms
- Raise the minimum age to purchase firearms to 21
- Ban high capacity magazines and bump stocks
- Require universal background checks that include relevant mental health information and previous interactions with the law
- Ensure a complete universal database of those banned from buying firearms
- Close the private sale and gun show loophole that waives the necessity of background checks
"Some will say these steps can’t guarantee tragedies like Parkland will never happen again," the company said in a statement. "They may be correct -- but if common sense reform is enacted and even one life is saved, it will have been worth it."
The statement went onto say that the country's most precious gift is children.
"They are our future. We must keep them safe."
Walmart, the nation's largest retailer and a major seller of firearms, announced it would stop selling the military-style semiautomatic weapons in August 2015.
Patrons at a Dick's store in Orlando had varying opinions about the store's decision.
"I'm never giving them my money again. What they're doing is ridiculous," said a man named Barry, who only provided his first name. "That is bull. That is just progressive, anti-gun propaganda. I'm done with these companies being political. They shouldn't sell guns to those who are mentally ill, but the gun didn't hurt anybody."
"As far as a private business goes, if they don't want to sell those weapons, and they don't want to be responsible for what happens with those weapons down the road, I certainly understand that," said shopper Brent Johnson.
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