Dick’s Sporting Goods Will Stop Selling Assault-Style Weapons

As people across the U.S. call for greater gun control — with Oregon making significant policy changes in response — it’s still possible to easily obtain a range of high-powered weapons in the United States. But in 600 Dick’s Sporting Goods  stores, that will no longer be the case.

The sports equipment retailer has announced that it will drop “assault-style” rifles from the company’s inventory. Walmart, which took such weapons out of stores in 2015, will also delist them from its website.

These moves are heartening — though as of 2012, the U.S. had more gun stores than grocery stores, meaning that they’re a drop in the bucket when it comes to gun control.

But this corporate action shows that consumer pressure from activists – like the Care2 members calling for Cabela’s to stop selling assault weapons – is working. Some businesses are now making careful calculations to decide whether the business of gun proponents is more important than those demanding common-sense gun reform — something Dick’s endorsed in its announcement.

Terms like “assault rifle” and “assault weapon” get thrown around a lot, but these aren’t actually legal — or even industry — terms. Instead, they’re used to broadly describe high-powered weapons with a high rate of fire. Some refer to such weapons as “military grade,” arguing that they were clearly developed for military contexts, in settings where people are shooting guns with intent to kill other humans. This differentiates them from weapons like hunting rifles.

The lack of a formal definition makes such weapons challenging to regulate — one person’s interpretation of “assault weapon” isn’t the same as another’s, and swapping out some components could allow people to upgrade, or downgrade, a weapon. And that’s exactly why it’s not enough to simply call for an “assault weapons ban” in Congress; such weapons need to be carefully defined. It’s also important to address components like so-called “bump stocks,” which can make guns even more lethal.

“Following all of the rules and laws, we sold a shotgun to the Parkland shooter in November of 2017. It was not the gun, nor type of gun, he used in the shooting. But it could have been,” Dick’s commented in its statement.

As part of the company’s change in policy, it won’t sell guns to anyone under 21 years of age. Dick’s will also stop carrying high-capacity magazines and will continue its policy of refusing to sell bump stocks. These measures go above and beyond the requirements of gun control measures in most states, showing that the company wants to hold itself to a higher standard.

Dick’s also called on elected officials to institute gun control measures, including closing the gun show loophole, enacting comprehensive background checks, banning high capacity magazines and bump stocks, and raising the minimum age for gun purchases to 21. That last effort is in alignment with some gun control proposals — and a dig at Walmart, which is the subject of a Care2 petition.

Dick’s recognizes a difference between responsible gun owners who use weapons for sporting purposes and subsistence hunting, and people who buy guns with the intent to kill fellow human beings. The company noted that its respect for the Second Amendment and belief that people should be able to own guns — within reason, if they clear background checks, and if they handle and store those guns responsibly. But above all, Dick’s doesn’t want to be party to mass murder.

If a sporting goods store can do it, how about Congress?

Photo credit: Mike Mozart

73 comments

Annabel Bedini
Annabel Bedini4 months ago

Dan B
No answer?

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Annabel Bedini
Annabel Bedini4 months ago

Dan B
How many people were shot with semi-automatic firearms in Madrid, Budapest or Athens? What are you talking about here?

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David F
David F4 months ago

Roberta, your so-called tolerant lefties are only tolerant of the part of the First Amendment when they agree with what's being said. Try to find any of my earlier post.

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David F
David F4 months ago

Certain Care2 authors here continue to hide opinions and facts of others they disagree with from their readers by censoring. Even though when there is no fowl language, threats, or personal insults. My post disappeared again.

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Ruth S
Ruth S4 months ago

I think assault rifles should be banned from the USA altogether, with exception of our military use for wars.

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Winn A
Winn A4 months ago

If I ever have a need to go get something at a sportings good store it will be those who have stopped selling these guns.

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Winn A
Winn A4 months ago

Petition Signed

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan B4 months ago

Paul C.,
Many of America’s large cities are safer than those in Europe. Comparing the recent situation in Madrid, Budapest, or Athens to those in the U.S. show similar criminal activity. Fear is largely a perception, which the media tends to exploit.

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Rachel -
Past Member 4 months ago

Source: FBI UCR Expanded Homicide Data Table 8, 2016

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Rachel -
Past Member 4 months ago

Stop confusing the issue by bringing up assault rifles, which are not a problem. Assault rifles are rifles capable of switching to automatic fire and new ones haven't been legally sold to civilians since 1986. There have only been two, or possibly three (one was claim by the FBI in 2000, but no details released) homicides committed with legally owned assault rifles since the National Firearms Act of 1934. Any you thought you heard about were modified semiautomatics.

'Assault weapons' addressed by the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban were basically ominous-looking guns with the same action as a sporting rifle that can hold more than 5 rounds and had certain features. In other words, they banned firearms based on appearance, brand name, and features not related to firearm function per se. Okay, fine. But the fact remains, upwards of 10 x more gun homicides are committed with handguns. In 2016 for example, 7,105 were attributable to handguns and 636 to rifles and shotguns - that's ALL rifles and shotguns, not just assault weapons. So when a new assault weapons ban isn't statistically effective, you already know why.

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