Dick's Sporting Goods Decides To Stop Selling Assault-Style Firearms

Feb 28, 2018
Originally published on February 28, 2018 9:31 am
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One of the country's major sporting goods chains will no longer sell assault-style firearms and high-capacity magazines. Dick's Sporting Goods will also stop selling guns to consumers under the age of 21. The CEO of the company, Edward Stack, announced this new policy in an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America."


EDWARD STACK: The systems that are in place across the board just aren't effective enough to keep us from selling someone a gun like that. And so we've decided that we're not going to sell the assault-type rifles any longer.

GREENE: NPR's Uri Berliner joins us now to talk more about this.

Uri, good morning.

URI BERLINER, BYLINE: Good morning, David.

GREENE: So this seems like a company that is in some ways taking gun restrictions and decisions about how to, you know, patrol the use of guns into their own hands. They're - they make money selling guns. But now they're going to stop selling certain guns to consumers. So what do you think is their calculus here?

BERLINER: Well, you know, the words of Ed Stack today were quite plain and quite emotional. And they were quite direct. And, you know, clearly they're in response to the Parkland shooting and, more than that, to how the students responded to that horrific attack.

And so he said when we take a look at what those kids and parents and the heroes in the school - what they did - our view was that if the kids can be brave enough to organize like this, we can be brave enough to take these guns out of here. So clearly, he's responding in a fairly emotional way.

Now, there's also a business impact that this is going to have. Dick's sells firearms. It's one of the leading sellers of firearms in the country. And many of its customers buy firearms. And they are presumably members of the NRA. So the impact is - we'll see what the impact is. But there is going to be some.

GREENE: So I suppose - I mean, guns are not the only thing that Dick's sells. And we've seen already that some companies have come under enormous pressure, I mean, to sort of distance themselves from the NRA. So could that be the calculation here? They're deciding that, even if they lose some money on guns per se, I mean, this might be overall a win for them in terms of business.

BERLINER: Possibly. So the stock did not tank this morning, as one might have expected if, you know, there was going to be this tremendous backlash. I mean, he said they are prepared for a backlash. And, you know, keep in mind they are - they will no longer sell semiautomatic rifles, so-called assault-style rifles. They will sell other kinds of firearms. And Dick's sells many, many other kinds of products as well.

GREENE: Uri, the company is not just saying that they are going to make this decision about what they sell. They also went so far as to implore lawmakers to act. I mean, this is extraordinary to see a business like this get involved in political advocacy.

BERLINER: Well, what's extraordinary is that it's a business that sells firearms. And they quite directly implored lawmakers to do exactly what they did - raise the minimum age to purchase firearms to 21, ban high-capacity magazines and require - as they also said - require relevant health information and previous interactions with the law.

So they are taking a strong stand, encouraging what they call common-sense gun control.

GREENE: Could this be an inflection point?

BERLINER: Well, when you have a company that is in the business of selling guns speaking out this strongly, it certainly changes the picture.

GREENE: All right, NPR's Uri Berliner on the decision from Dick's Sporting Goods to stop selling certain types of weapons and also call for action from lawmakers this morning.

Uri, thanks.

BERLINER: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.