One of the nation’s largest sporting goods retailers is taking some of the steps on guns that Congress and Donald Trump won’t. Dick’s Sporting Goods said that, after discovering that Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz bought a gun in one of its stores, it will no longer sell guns to people under 21 and will no longer sell either assault rifles or high-capacity magazines. The company’s CEO, Edward Stack, said he had been inspired by the survivors of the shooting:
“When we saw what happened in Parkland, we were so disturbed and upset,” Mr. Stack said in an interview Tuesday evening. “We love these kids and their rallying cry, ‘enough is enough.’ It got to us.”
He added, “We’re going to take a stand and step up and tell people our view and, hopefully, bring people along into the conversation.”
Mr. Stack said he hoped that conversation would include politicians. As part of its stance, Dick’s is calling on elected officials to enact what it called “common sense gun reform’’ by passing laws to raise the minimum age to purchase guns to 21, to ban assault-type weapons and so-called bump stocks, and to conduct broader universal background checks that include mental-health information and previous interactions with law enforcement.
The gun Dick’s sold to Cruz was not the type of gun he used in the massacre, and was sold legally:
“But it came to us that we could have been a part of this story,’’ he said. “We said, ‘We don’t want to be a part of this any longer,’” said Mr. Stack.
“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 in a statement. “But we have to stop 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.”
Here’s the thing: this is a good move. But Dick’s is not the only place would-be mass shooters can buy assault rifles. That’s why, while other major retailers absolutely should join Dick’s in this, the only thing that will really work is government action—as Dick’s recognizes in calling for politicians to “enact common sense gun reform.” As long as someone who wants to kill a lot of people can walk into Dick’s, find out they can’t get what they want, and then walk down the street to another store and obtain an assault rifle and high-capacity magazine, we still have a problem. And that means congressional Republicans and Donald Trump need to act.