- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Dick’s Sporting Goods on Wednesday announced that in light of the recent Parkland, Florida, school shooting, it will no longer sell modern sporting rifles at its affiliates and will halt the sale of high-capacity magazines.

The sporting goods retail giant had removed what it called “assault-style” rifles from Dick’s stores after the Newtown school shooting in 2012, but will now remove them from sale at its 35 Field & Stream stores as well.

The company also said it will no longer sell guns to anyone under 21 years of age.

“We support and respect the Second Amendment, and we recognize and appreciate that the vast majority of gun owners in this country are responsible, law-abiding citizens,” Chairman and CEO Edward W. Stack said in a statement. “But we have to help solve the problem that’s in front of us.”

Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old man who police say killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High earlier this month, legally bought a shotgun from the company in November.

Authorities say Mr. Cruz used an AR-15-style semiautomatic weapon in the attack, though Mr. Stack noted that it could have been the shotgun.

“Clearly this indicates on so many levels that the systems in place are not effective to protect our kids and our citizens,” he said. “We believe it’s time to do something about it.”

In the statement, Mr. Stack called on elected officials to pass bans on so-called “assault” weapons and high-capacity magazines, raise the minimum age to buy a gun to 21 years old and impose universal background checks on gun sales.

“We deeply believe that this country’s most precious gift is our children. They are our future. We must keep them safe,” he said.

“We know there’s going to be some backlash,” Mr. Stack said Wednesday on CNN. “When you look at those kids and their parents and the grief that everyone is going through, we don’t want to be a part of this story any longer.”

He said that Mr. Cruz was able to buy a gun from Dick’s last year, but it was not the firearm used in the Florida high school.

“We actually sold the shooter a shotgun in November of last year. And when we looked at that, and found out that we did this, we had a pit in our stomach,” Mr. Stack said.

What alarmed Mr. Stack was that Mr. Cruz was able to purchase any kind of weapon from his store without any red flags. He said he reviewed the purchase and found the store did everything legally required in order to sell Mr. Cruz the weapon.

“We did everything by the book that we were supposed to do from a legal standpoint. We followed everything that we were supposed to do and somehow this kid was able to buy a gun from us,” he said.

Sally Persons contributed to this article.

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