Given America’s legal protection of gun rights, the country’s near-deification of guns and its repetitive gun-related tragedy cycle, decreasing customer access to guns could seem like a recipe of ruin for a company’s capital, goodwill and public support. However, Dick’s Sporting Goods leadership reported a positive response to their decision to curtail customer access to guns at Dick’s stores and Dick’s affiliated stores.

After the public learned that Dick’s would no longer sell assault-style rifles and high capacity magazines (which allow users to spray several rounds without reloading), supporters sent donuts, flowers and affirmations, CEO Edward Stack told CNN. 

Stack said the stores will not sell guns to people who are younger than 21 years old. His reasoning connected with a point that Parkland shooting victim Lyliah Skinner touched on when she inquired, “If people can’t purchase marijuana or alcohol at the age of 18, why should they be given access to guns?”  Skinner also reminded us, “Words mean nothing. Actions do.”

Although many people interpreted Dick’s move as part of a positive trend away from arming civilians as if they are war participants, others loudly opposed the move. Opponents of Dick’s changes want the broadest possible options to buy assault-rifles. Some believe the company’s response to the mass shooting in Parkland demonstrates a problematic shift toward liberal politics.

Although the courts increasingly consider corporations legal persons, Stack emphasized the actual human beings inside of these business entities, and how they feel about gun violence.

“As we sat and talked about it with our management team, it was — to a person — that this is what we need to do,” Stack said. “These kids talk about enough is enough. We concluded if these kids are brave enough to organize and do what they’re doing, we should be brave enough to take this stand.”

Nikolas Cruz used an assault-style gun when he massacred 17 people at a Parkland high school on February 14. While Cruz had purchased a separate gun from a Dick’s store, he purchased the weapon he used in last month’s shooting at a Coral Springs, Florida store called Sunrise Tactical Supply.


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