A Connecticut guns rights group is responding to the decision by Dick's Sporting Goods to change its policies on gun sales and said the company will “discriminate" against certain customers based on their age by not selling guns to people under the age of 21.
The nationwide sporting goods retailers stopped selling assault-style rifles at Dick’s Sporting Goods stores after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Now, in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, the company will also remove these types of rifles from all 35 Field & Stream stores. It has also decided to stop selling firearms to people under 21 years old and to put an end to sales of high-capacity magazines.
"We're of course saddened that Dick's will begin discriminating against certain customers based on their age, even though here in Connecticut those customers have undergone the same strict background checks as every other resident and are legally allowed to purchase these products," Chris Lemos, vice president of Connecticut Citizens Defense League, said in a statement Wednesday.
"As for their misguided decision to end the sale of certain firearms based solely on cosmetics -
Dick's stopped selling this style firearm in their main stores years ago, even before they were later banned here in Connecticut. Among gun owners, they have also earned a reputation as having a limited selection and high prices when it comes to firearms. This decision will have no impact on gun owners in this state, other than to persuade them to shop elsewhere for other sporting goods," Lemos said in a statement.
Gov. Dannel Malloy released a statement in response to the sporting goods store’s decision as well and said he hopes more companies will act as Dick’s has.
“At a time when the American people are rising up and demanding meaningful gun safety reform, the federal government continues to bend to the will of the NRA,” Malloy said. “When even major retailers that sell guns say it’s time to ban assault-style weapons, members of Congress should listen up, and take action. I applaud Dick’s Sporting Goods for their strong stance on this critical issue, and hope that more companies follow suit in this prime example of good cooperate stewardship.”
Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman commended the company as well.
“Students in Parkland were the latest victims of gun laws that are lax, riddled with loopholes, and not keeping pace with modern technology, but the reality is we have an entire generation of young people who go to school each day under a cloud of “what if.” Dick’s Sporting Goods has emerged as a leader. They stand in good company with a student movement that has swept the country, and other businesses that are calling for action. Congress would do well to listen,” Wyman said.
Dick’s Sporting Goods released a lengthy statement on its website about its decision on guns.
“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. 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,” the statement from Dick’s says.
“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.”
The company is also calling on elected officials to “enact common sense gun reform.”