CEDAR PARK, Texas (KXAN) — Wednesday, major retailer Dick’s Sporting Goods shared an announcement: they would no longer be selling assault-style rifles and high capacity magazines. They also are opting not to sell guns of any kind to people under the age of 21.
This comes after the deadly shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida where the shooter, a 19-year-old, was found to have purchased a gun from Dick’s Sporting Goods — though it wasn’t the gun he used in the shooting.
In the days and weeks following the shooting, both students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and activists around the country have demonstrated, calling for a change to gun policy and gun use.
“When we looked at those kids and we saw what, the grief they were going through, the parents were going through, and how these kids organized to really have their voices heard,” Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO Edward Slack said to NBC News. “We talked amongst ourselves, if these kids can be brave enough to do this, then we should be brave enough to make a stand ourselves. This is a complex issue. And we hope that Congress on both sides will sit down with the intent of finding a solution.”
The company announced in 2012 that they would stop selling assault-style rifles after the Sandy Hook shooting, but soon after continued selling them at the Field & Stream stores which they also own. One of the 35 Field &Stream stores is located in Cedar Park, where several people stopped by in response to the announcement.
Cedar Park resident Eric Poppa dropped by to see if the announcement meant immediate implementation inside the store.
“I just came by to see if they’re pulling stuff off the shelves, if they have any good sales in the meantime, I am a gun owner,” Poppa said. In fact, Poppa is a competitive shooter. He competes in what he calls “three gun.”
“It requires interchangeable magazines so you can change on the run, but it also requires high capacity magazines because going through a stage you may be firing a hundred rounds a stage,” he said.
He thinks this announcement is a knee-jerk reaction from Dick’s.
“If you’re talking about things like school shootings, I’d be more concerned with high capacity pistols, they’re more concealable,” he said.
“Folks forget that the church shooting that happened here in Texas recently, the guy who stopped that prevented more loss of life that could have occurred was a neighbor who heard gunfire, grabbed an AR-15,” he said, referring to the actions of Stephen Willeford who believes he fired successfully at the Sutherland Springs shooting suspect.
But John Michael Perez who was also shopping at Dick’s Sporting Goods in Cedar Park Wednesday felt differently
“I don’t understand why people think that more guns mean less death,” he said.
Perez said he shopped at Dick’s Sporting Goods because he was looking to buy his wife a trampoline, and Dick’s was on his radar because he’d seen it in the news that morning. He still has many unanswered questions about the best way to handle gun policy, but he is supportive of this action by Dick’s.
“I feel like they’re making a decision for the better of the country,” he said.
“I just bought a gun — walked in, and 5 minutes later, walked out and it was a little disturbing, I’m not gonna lie,” he explained, wondering how easy it would be for someone with a violent agenda to do the same.
Academy Sports and Outdoors sent KXAN News the following statement in response to the announcement from Dick’s Sporting Goods:
We serve a broad base of customers, and outdoor sports, including hunting and shooting sports, are an important tradition and recreational activity for many of our customers and their families. We are strongly committed to ensuring the legal, safe and responsible transfer of firearms. We follow all applicable regulations relating to the sale of firearms and regularly review our internal policies and processes to ensure our legal and responsible sale of firearms and encourage safe usage and ownership. As a Federal Firearms Licensee, we support the Fix NICS Bill to strengthen the background check system and require greater compliance with the law.”