NEW YORK (AP) - Dick's Sporting Goods will immediately end sales of assault-style rifles in its stores and won't sell guns to anyone under 21 years old following the school massacre in Parkland, Florida.
Dick's Chairman and CEO Edward Stack said on "Good Morning America" Wednesday that after the shooting the company "felt it needed to do something."
Stack says that the gunman, Nickolas Cruz, had purchased a gun at a Dick's store, but not the one used at the school shooting, even though all existing rules were followed. Stack says that the system that's in place won't stop sales to dangerous people and said lawmakers must do something.
Stack said Dick's is prepared for any potential backlash, but will not change its policies on gun sales.
Locally, there are Dick's Sporting Goods stores in New Hartford and Oneonta.
The following is the letter written by Dick's Sporting Goods Inc. CEO and Chairman Ed Stack:
We at DICK'S Sporting Goods are deeply disturbed and saddened by the tragic events in Parkland. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the victims and their loved ones.
But thoughts and prayers are not enough. We have tremendous respect and admiration for the students organizing and making their voices heard regarding gun violence in schools and elsewhere in our country.
We have heard you. The nation has heard you. We support and respect the Second Amendment, and we recognize and appreciate that the vast majority of gun owners in this country are responsible, law-abiding citizens. But we have to help solve the problem that's in front of us. Gun violence is an epidemic that's taking the lives of too many people, including the brightest hope for the future of America - our kids. Following all of the rules and laws, we sold a shotgun to the Parkland shooter in November of 2017. It was not the gun, nor type of gun, he used in the shooting. But it could have been.
Clearly this indicates on so many levels that the systems in place are not effective to protect our kids and our citizens.
We believe it's time to do something about it.
Beginning today, DICK'S Sporting Goods is committed to the following:
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
We hope others join us in this effort to let our kids know that their pleas are being taken seriously. Some will say these steps can't guarantee tragedies like Parkland will never happen again. They may be correct - but if common sense reform is enacted and even one life is saved, it will have been worth it.
We deeply believe that this country's most precious gift is our children. They are our future. We must keep them safe.
Edward W. Stack, Chairman & CEO Dick's Sporting Goods
(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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