By Ava Simunovic ’20

Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods, two of the nation’s leading gun sellers, took steps on Wednesday to restrict sales on firearms.

Early Wednesday, Dick’s said that it was immediately ending sales on all assault-style rifles and high capacity magazines in its stores. The retailer also implemented a new rule that all gun buyers must be 21 years or older, despite local laws.

Walmart, the largest retailer in the United States, announced later in the afternoon that it would also not sell guns to anyone under 21 years of age. Additionally, Walmart will stop selling items resembling assault-style rifles, including toys and airguns.

Both announcements were made two weeks after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, where 17 students and staff members were killed. Both Dick’s and Walmart said their decision was a response to this tragic event.

According to Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO, Edward Stack, the company predicts criticism from gun rights advocates, as well as a decrease in sales.

“The hunting business is an important part of the business, no doubt about it. And we know there will be some backlash,” Stack said in a recent interview with CNN.

But Stack and his team at Dick’s believe that the financial toll that they will face, is worth it.

“If these kids [students from Parkland] are brave enough to organize and do what they’re doing, we should be brave enough to take this stand,” Stack told CNN.

Although Dick’s and other retailers look to diminish the gun violence in the United States, experts argue that their reforms will not prove to be as significant as many think.

With 56,000 storefronts selling guns, a few guns here or there at Dick’s isn’t going to make a difference,” Brian Rafn, the director of research at Morgan Dempsey Capital Management, said.

But Staples student Jax Adler ’20 still applauds both Dick’s and Walmart after their recent announcments. “I think that it’s definitely a step in the right direction that companies realize that lives are more important than them making money,” Adler said.

These companies are looking to combat gun violence in the United States in order avert more fatalities from occuring.

“We have to help solve the problem that’s in front of us,” Stack said in his public letter, “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.”

Photo used under the Creative Commons License.

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