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February 28, 2018

DICK's Sporting Goods ending sales of assault rifles

Sporting goods retailer also changing minimum age for gun purchases from 18 to 21

DICK’s Sporting Goods, the largest sporting goods retailer in the United States, announced Wednesday it would stop selling assault-style rifles at its hundreds of stores.

Additionally, the chain said it would not sell any type of gun to anyone less than 21 years of age, regardless of state laws for the store. In Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the age minimum for gun ownership is currently 18.

Dick’s made the announcement in a series of statements shared on Twitter. They were posted just two weeks after a mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida killed 17 people, mostly students. The alleged shooter, Nikolas Cruz, is 19 years old.

“We at DICK’s are deeply disturbed and saddened by the tragic events in Parkland,” the first statement began. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the victims and their loved ones.”

Then, echoing criticisms many have cast against President Donald Trump's response to the violence, DICK’s wrote, “But thoughts and prayers are not enough.”

The statement goes on to credit the students in Parkland, who have been vocal in speaking out in favor of gun regulation and reform, saying, “We have heard you. The nation has heard you.”

DICK’s says it respects the Second Amendment, but, “we have to help solve the problem that’s in front of us… Following all rules and regulations, we sold a shotgun to the Parkland shooter in November 2017. It was not the gun, nor type of gun, he used in the shooting. But it could have been.”

An addition to banning assault rifle sales and implementing the new age minimum, DICK’s will stop selling high-capacity magazines, which enable shooters to fire more rounds without reloading. The retailer also laid out gun regulations it wishes elected officials to enact.

Edward Stack, whose father founded DICK’s in 1948, told the New York Times he hopes the decision will spark further conversation around gun control reform that will, hopefully, include discourse with politicians.

“We love these kids and their rallying cry, ‘enough is enough.’ It got to us,” Stack said to the Times.

DICK’s new guidelines are effective immediately.