PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Whatever you call them, don’t look for AR-15s, sporting rifles, or assault-style firearms at Dick’s Sporting Goods or its subsidiary Field & Stream.
“When you look at those kids and their parents and the grief that everyone is going through, we don’t want to be a part of this story any longer,” declared Edward Stack, CEO of the Pittsburgh-based company.
KDKA’s Jon Delano Reports:
Stack acknowledged that the Parkland, Florida, shooter had purchased a gun from Dick’s; although, not the one used in the murders.
“We actually sold the shooter a shotgun in November of last year,” said Stack. “When we found out we had done this, we had a pit in our stomach and said, ‘We don’t want to be a part of this story. We need a responsibility to these kids.’”
So Dick’s will no longer sell assault-style rifles — no longer sell any firearms to anyone under age 21 — no longer sell high-capacity magazines — and will continue to ban bump stocks from their stores.
“If these kids are brave enough to organize and do what they’re doing, then we should be brave enough to take this stand,” said Stack.
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Local independent gun shops say Dick’s decision will have no real impact on the market.
Bruce Taucher owns Federal Firearms in Oakdale.
“Firearms is just a small amount of their sales. They’re more into the clothing. They’re going after that market,” says Taucher. “They’re letting mom and dad know, we’re not doing the guns. Come on in, get your tennis shoes, get your $150 shirt, pants, all that stuff they really cater, too.”
That’s a common reaction from some gun-owners — a publicity stunt.
“It’s them just trying to get into the media. Get their name out there. Get a little bit of publicity,” said Gabriel Badali, head gun smith at Federal Firearms.
It may not help Dick’s with gun-owners, but one Parkland parent, who lost a daughter in the tragedy, hailed the decision.
“I will be going to Dick’s Sporting Goods today to buy something because, you know what, I am so proud of them,” said Frank Guttenberg.
But local gun owners think the move will hurt Dick’s overall.
“It’s definitely going to hurt them way more than it’s going to help them,” said Badali. “I don’t think of Dick’s Sporting Goods as a place to go to buy guns already, but anyone that did all these small local stores are more than happy to help you.”
But Dick’s went beyond imposing its own restrictions — it called on lawmakers to enact “common sense gun reform” like ban assault-style firearms, raise the minimum age to purchase to 21, ban high capacity magazines & bump stocks, require universal background checks, ensure a universal database with all those banned from buying and close the private sale and gun show loophole.
“We hope that it spurs a conversation, and brings people along to have a serious conversation about what’s happening in our school and gun violence, and put a stop to it,” noted Stack.
“I think it’s all politics,” said Bill Thompson of Imperial.
That’s a common reaction at a local gun shop.
“They’re only appealing to the left in this case,” added Badali.
But that’s not how Dick’s sees it.
“I’m a supporter of the Second Amendment. I’m a gun owner myself,” said Stack. “We have to do something about this. This is tragic what’s going on, and we’re taking a stand.”