Effective Wednesday, Feb. 28, Dick's will no longer sell assault-style rifles in its 853 stores and online, the company said in a statement first reported by the New York Times. Dick's, which is one of the largest sports retailers in the country, will also halt sales of high-capacity magazines and won't sell guns to anyone under the age of 21, regardless of local law.
The move by Dick's comes about two weeks after the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that killed 17 students and staff members. Since the shooting, the nation has entered into a fierce debate over gun laws and the Second Amendment.
"We at Dick's Sporting Goods are deeply disturbed and saddened by the tragic events in Parkland. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the victims and their loved ones," Dick's said on its website. "But thoughts and prayers are not enough."
"When we saw what happened in Parkland, we were so disturbed and upset. We love these kids and their rallying cry, 'enough is enough.' It got to us," Dick's CEO Edward Stack told the Times. "We're going to take a stand and step up and tell people our view and, hopefully, bring people along into the conversation."
Dick's said in the statement that, "following all of the rules and laws," it sold a gun to the Parkland shooter in November 2017. It was not the gun or the type of gun he used in the shooting, Dick's said. "But it could have been."
Dick's is also calling on politicians to enact "common sense gun reform" by passing laws to raise the minimum age to purchase a gun to 21, banning assault-style weapons and bump stocks and conducting universal background checks.
While Dick's isn't the only company that has responded to the gun debate, its stance is one of the strongest. In recent weeks, Hertz Global Holdings Inc. (HTZ - Get Report) , MetLife Inc. (MET - Get Report) and Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL - Get Report) have all severed ties with the National Rifle Association after receiving substantial public backlash for the relationships.
Walmart Inc. (WMT - Get Report) had already said it won't sell high-powered rifles in U.S. stores, but was considerably less political in its decision. Walmart said that the move was due to weak demand for the weapons. Walmart was the largest retailer of firearms and ammunition in the U.S. in 2016.
"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," Dick's said. "But we have to help solve the problem that's in front of us. Gun violence is an epidemic that's taking the lives of too many people, including the brightest hope for the future of America - our kids."
Dick's doesn't break out its weapon sales in quarterly filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Last year, the company tallied total sales of $7.922 billion.
Dick's stock doesn't trade in the premarket. Shares finished Tuesday down 2.2% to $31.80.