Dick’s Sporting Goods Bans Assault Weapons

Dick%27s+joins+companies+across+the+nation+in+limiting+gun+sales.
Dick's joins companies across the nation in limiting gun sales.

Dick's joins companies across the nation in limiting gun sales.

Courtesy of NBC News

Courtesy of NBC News

Dick's joins companies across the nation in limiting gun sales.

By CHLOE FLEISCHER

In the wake of another school shooting, Dick’s Sporting Goods has taken steps to limit their sale of firearms. On Feb. 28, the company committed to no longer sell firearms to customers under the age of 21 and has eliminated their sale of assault style weapons.

In 2012, following the Sandy Hook school shooting, Dick’s also removed assault style weapons from their main stores and began selling them exclusively at their 35 remaining Field & Stream stores, a subsidiary of Dick’s Sporting Goods that specializes in outdoor activities.

The update to the policy comes following the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 students, teachers and staff and thrust gun control controversies back into the national spotlight. On a more local level, such a policy could have prevented a high-schooler from Rutland, Vermont, from purchasing the gun he intended to use in a foiled school shooting plan three weeks ago.

Dick’s released a statement saying that they “support and respect the Second Amendment” but believe that “the systems in place are not effective to protect our kids and our citizens.” The sports store decided to take initiative and put into effect the change they hope to see in legislation in the years to come.

Following similar courses of action, other big corporations such as Walmart and L.L.Bean also required purchasers of assault-style weapons to be 21. The changes in policy drew lots of attention as public figures, including many Hollywood actors and actresses, weighed in on Twitter. An article in The New York Times cited a statistic that “by midday, the number of Twitter messages containing Dick’s name had jumped 12,000 percent from the average over the previous ten days,” with about 79 percent of those tweets conveying positive sentiments.

However, local gun store owners in Vermont were disenchanted, though not surprised, with the corporate decisions. Jim Dattilio, owner of Dattilio’s Guns & Tackle in South Burlington said in an interview with The Burlington Free Press that “they’re a bunch of cowards,” and Henry Parro, owner of Parro’s Gun Shop and Police Supplies in Waterbury was not surprised, stating that Dick’s “has no passion for firearms,” and is mostly in it for the money.

The shared sentiment seemed to be that this would not affect business for local gun stores as they serve a more niche market than Dick’s. If anything, the policy change means that those under 21 would now turn to local stores in order to purchase assault-style weapons.

Conscious consumers have begun to vocalize their support of further gun control by conducting “shop-ins,” at stores such as Dick’s that have agreed to change their gun policies. In addition, many are staging boycotts against companies such as Amazon, Apple, and YouTube that have not thus far severed their relationship offering discounts to the NRA.

Students have also taken on an influential voice in nationwide protests that have caught the attention of corporate heads and legislators alike. One of the reasons that Edward Stack, chief executive of Dick’s Sporting Goods, cited in a press releasefor the change in policy was that “[we] love these kids and their rallying cry ‘enough is enough.’ It got to [us].” He also hoped to bring the fight beyond the social media sphere and turn it into legislative change. In his media statement, he implored for “elected officials to enact common sense gun reform.”

In a surprising shift in stance, Gov. Phil Scott and President Donald Trump recently made statements encouraging changes in gun control policy while reaffirming their support of the second amendment. Gov. Scott said that he is “committed to working with legislative leaders to identify policy changes that may better ensure the safety of our children and all Vermonters. That includes better identifying and treating mental health needs and other root causes of violence, determining why so many children slip through the cracks; and having an open conversation about gun safety.”

Sen. Patrick Leahy released a statement reaffirming his staunch support of gun control as “a leading voice in the Senate for common sense reforms to reduce gun violence and make communities safer.”

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1 Comment

One Response to “Dick’s Sporting Goods Bans Assault Weapons”

  1. Kira Liess on March 12th, 2018 9:03 pm

    This article is very interesting. The research is balanced and fair and I’m glad the author mentioned not only mental illness as being the root cause of such catastrophes. Statistics show that people with mental illnesses are more likely to be victims of violence than people without mental disorders. I just hate having the media further stigmatize the disorders by always focusing on the stories where a violent offender had a mental illness. Thanks for such responsible journalism!




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Dick’s Sporting Goods Bans Assault Weapons