Dick's Sporting Goods: US gun retail giant ends sale of assault weapons after Florida massacre

Dick's Sporting Goods has lent its voice to the gun control debate

Dick's Sporting Goods has lent its voice to the gun control debate

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

One of America's biggest gun retailers has decided to stop selling assault-style rifles as part of a sweeping change of policy in the wake of the Florida school massacre.

Dick's Sporting Goods said its range of assault weapons had already been removed from the company's mainstream stores in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre, but now they will also be removed from the company's niche hunting division following the Parkland shooting, which was carried out using an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.

In addition, Dick's has announced that it will ban the sale of all firearms to anyone under the age of 21, will stop selling high-capacity magazines and reiterated its existing ban on bump stocks, which allow semi-automatic weapons to fire more rapidly.

The company said it has taken the steps because "this country's most precious gift is our children", and urged President Trump to enact a series of gun control measures reflecting its own raft of policies. In a public statement Dick's said it wants to see a total ban on assault-style firearms, a raising of the minimum gun-purchase age to 21, and a ban on high-capacity magazines and bump stocks.

The company's public exhortation to Trump also demands a widening of existing background checks to include mental health history, the creation of a complete universal database of those banned from buying firearms, and a closure of the loophole allowing would-be gun owners to buy weapons at gun shows without any due diligence.

Dick's says that, although "some will say these steps can't guarantee tragedies like Parkland will never happen again... if common sense reform is enacted and even one life is saved, it will have been worth it."

Dick's recorded sales of more than $2.1 billion in the 2016-17 financial year, however Trump's election as President has actually brought a sharp drop in firearm sales, as fears of impending gun legislation have diminished.

The company's decision to curb its gun-sale operation continues the nationwide backlash which has gripped America since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Shooter Nikolas Cruz had a history of mental health problems and many have asked how he was able to purchase such a powerful weapon.

Trump himself has said the gun problem will be addressed, adding that he would be open to the prospect of beefing up the background-check process and banning bump stocks.

However the President, who will discuss gun control alternatives with a bipartisan group of lawmakers at the White House today, has prompted fury with his suggestion of arming teachers.