Dear Commons Community,
Over the past week, a number of companies in the travel industry such as Delta and United Airlines have announced plans to cut their discount ticket policies for National Rifle Association (NRA) members. Their announcements came in response to the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people, mostly students, were killed two weeks ago.
Yesterday, Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. said it will permanently stop selling assault-style rifles in response to the massacre at the Florida high school. The U.S. retailer of camping supplies, sporting goods and guns will also stop selling high-capacity magazines and will not sell any guns to people under age 21, Dick’s chief executive, Ed Stack, said in an open letter on the company’s website.
Hours later, Walmart Inc., the largest U.S. retailer, said it was raising the minimum age for the purchase of firearms and ammunition to 21 from 18. Walmart stopped selling assault style firearms and accessories in 2015.
As reported by Reuters:
“The accused gunman, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, legally purchased a weapon at Dick’s in November, although not the type used in the shooting, Stack said. Cruz, a former student at Stoneman Douglas, is accused of using an AR-15 assault-style weapon to carry out the killing.
The massacre spurred a youth-led wave of protests, and state and national officials are considering whether to pass stricter gun control measures. The powerful NRA traditionally opposes such curbs, citing the right to bear arms under the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment.
Dick’s removed assault-style weapons from its Dick’s-branded stores after the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut that killed 20 first graders and six adults, but continued selling them through another retail brand. Wednesday’s move takes them out of its 35 Field & Stream outlets as well, Stack said, adding the measure would be permanent.
Some analysts said the 2012 decision did not hurt the retailer’s sales, likely giving company executives confidence to make Wednesday’s move. Stack said he knew the company’s decision would upset some customers, but he cited the passionate response by the students and families in Parkland.
“We have heard you,” he said.
In addition to instituting the age limit for buying guns, Walmart is removing items from its website that resemble assault-style rifles, including non-lethal airsoft guns and toys.
Stack said in his letter that Dick’s respects the Second Amendment and law-abiding gun owners but was obliged to address a national gun epidemic that is killing too many children.
After the Parkland shooting, it was clear there were not enough systemic protections to prevent gun sales to people who are potential threats, Stack said, adding that Congress should tighten background checks to include relevant mental health information.
Dick’s, based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, operates about 715 Dick’s-branded stores across the United States. It was the latest company to take action after the Florida shooting. Other businesses have cut ties with the NRA and gun manufacturers.”
These are welcome moves by Dick’s and Walmart. We hope that other large retailers of guns consider similar gun control policies.