Dick’s Sporting Goods (NYSE: DKS)
Dick’s Sporting Goods, one of America’s largest sports retailers, has announced it will no longer sell military-style semi-automatic rifles and that customers buy firearms from its stores will have to be older than 21.
Additionally, the company is immediately ending its sales of high-capacity magazines, and backing “common sense gun reform”. The announcement by Dick’s Sporting Goods came as teachers and students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School made an emotional return to class.
The company’s CEO, Ed Stack made the announcement on Wednesday on ABC’s Good Morning America. Stack said the teenage gunman allegedly behind the massacre that claimed 17 lives and injured many more in Parkland, FL had purchased a weapon from the retailer last year.
Although the 19-year-old gunman did not use that firearm — a shotgun — in the shooting, Stack said the revelation profoundly affected him and his coworkers at the company.
“We did everything by the book. We did everything that the law required, and still, he was able to buy a gun. When we looked at that, we said the systems that are in place across the board just aren’t effective enough to keep us from selling a gun like that. And so we have decided we are not going to sell the assault-type rifles any longer,” Stack said.
The announcement generated thousands of responses against and for on the company’s social media pages. Dick’s cut off sales of military-style firearms after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting six years ago.
However, sales had begun again at its Field & Stream stores, which consist of 35 outlets spread sixteen states as of October 2016. On Wednesday, the CEO said that would also end, and called on legislators to take action. Stack urged lawmakers to ban military-style weapons, high-capacity magazines and bump stocks, and raise the minimum age to purchase guns to 21.
He added that universal background checks ought to be required, and there ought to be a complete database of every person that is banned from buying weapons. The CEO also called for an end of the gun show and private sale loophole that enables buyers to avoid background checks. The NRA has opposed aggressively calls for restricting the sale of military-style weapons or raising age limits for guns.
“We respect and support 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 is in front of us. Gun violence is an epidemic that is taking the lives of too many people, including the brightest hope for the future of America — our kids,” the CEO said in a letter.
Dick’s Sporting Goods’ vast majority business is selling sporting goods such as sneakers and basketballs. The company also has a hunting category that includes guns and accounts for 8%-10% of its sales. The retailer has a much larger stake in youth sports and reported net sales of $7.92B in its 2017 financial year.