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Dick's Sporting Goods to stop selling assault-style rifles after Parkland shooting

Work on the Dick’s Sporting Goods in Fairview Heights is progressing well enough for the store to have an October 2017 expected opening, said Mike Malloy, director of Economic Development for the city.
Work on the Dick’s Sporting Goods in Fairview Heights is progressing well enough for the store to have an October 2017 expected opening, said Mike Malloy, director of Economic Development for the city. Belleville

Dick's Sporting Goods announced Wednesday morning it will stop all sales of assault-style weapons like the one used in the Parkland, Florida school shooting Feb. 14.

Dick's will also stop selling high-capacity magazines, which allows shooters to fire more rounds than traditional weapons without reloading, as well as other accessories used with weapons such as the AR-15, the New York Times reported.

The company said it will also raise the minimum age for all gun sales to 21. In Illinois, the minimum age to purchase rifles and shotguns is 18. Walmart also will no longer sell firearms and ammunition to people under 21, it announced Wednesday.

“Thoughts and prayers are not enough,” read the public statement from Dick's Sporting Goods. “We have tremendous respect and admiration for the students organizing and making their voices heard regarding gun violence in schools and elsewhere in our country. We have heard you. The nation has heard you.”

Walmart will also remove items that resemble assault-style rifles, like nonlethal airsoft guns and toys, from its website, it announced in a press release Wednesday. The company has not sold modern sporting rifles, including the AR-15, handguns (except in Alaska), bump stocks, high-capacity magazines and similar accessories since 2015.

In addition to the age limit, Dick’s will no longer sell high-capacity magazines. Assault-style rifles — also referred to as modern sporting rifles — had been removed from all Dick’s stores after the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, but were still available at 35 Field & Stream stores owned by Dick’s. Those will also be removed from shelves, store officials said.

The Parkland shooter, Nikolas Cruz, bought a gun at Dick's, a CNN said. The company said it was not the same gun he used in the school shooting, nor the same type of gun.

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

As for the controversial “bump stocks” that were used in the Las Vegas shooting, Dick’s has never sold them and never will, according to the company.

CEO Edward Stack told the New York Times, "it came to us that we could have been a part of this story. We don't want to be a part of this any longer."

Dick's is the nation's largest sporting goods retailer and has a location in Fairview Heights at 6575 N Illinois St.

In a similar move, Edwardsville-based company announced Monday that it is ending the discount program it had offered to NRA members and will not take any more of the organization's business.

The company recovers data from hard drives and cell phones, among other services and sees an annual revenue is about $20 million a year.

In the wake of the mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida, federal legislators may be casting votes on the gun control issue. The BND compiled a lit of metro-east congressmen, and those trying to unseat them, and where they stand on how to prevent future mass shootings.

The statement from Dick’s called upon public officials to enact “common sense gun reform,” suggesting a full ban on assault-style firearms, high-capacity magazines and bump stocks; raising the minimum age to 21; universal background checks including relevant mental health information and interactions with the law; a universal database of those banned from buying firearms; and closing the loopholes in private sales and gun shows that waive background checks.

Kaley Johnson: 618-239-2526, @KaleyJohnson6

Elizabeth Donald: 618-239-2507, @BNDedonald