Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO Edward Stack wants you to know he is not anti-Second Amendment. He is, however, against having his stores associated with any more mass shootings.
So, he took guns off the shelves.
And, to keep them off the streets, he destroyed them. Lots of them.
“I said, ‘You know what? If we really think these things should be off the street, we need to destroy them,’” Stack said in an interview with CBS News.
Dick’s, which operates about 800 stores, was, at a time, one of the nation’s largest gun retailers. But after the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Stack decided to take AR-15s off the shelves.
The AR-15 rifles were initially pulled from Dicks-branded stores, but still sold in the company’s Field and Stream stores until 2018.
“All we were going to do was just take it off the shelf and not say anything,” Stack, an avid hunter and gun owner said. “We probably get a little bit of a backlash, but we didn’t expect to get what we got. All this about, you know, how we were anti-Second Amendment, you know, ‘we don’t believe in the Constitution,’ and none of that could be further from the truth. We just didn’t want to sell the assault-style weapons that could inflict that kind of damage.”
He turned the $5 million of AR-15s he had in stock into scrap metal.
Then, following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Stack learned the shooter purchased a shotgun from one of his stores. It’s then, he said, that he had enough. He changed store policy, limiting firearm purchases to people over 21 years old.
He said the move has cost his company about $250 million.
And Stack isn’t the only executive to rewrite gun policy in the face of the country’s mass shooting epidemic.
Following a mass shooting at one of its Texas stores, Walmart asked customers not to openly carry firearms in its stores and discontinued sales of certain ammunition. More stores, including the Florida-based Publix Supermarkets, followed suit on open carry policy.
Stack said Dick’s Sporting Goods is continuing to review its gun sales policy. The chain has banned sales in 100 stores, with more possible. Stack said he isn’t expecting to change the world, just to do his part to save a life.
“So many people say to me, you know, ‘If we do what you want to do, it’s not going to stop these mass shootings,’” he told CBS. “And my response is, ‘You’re probably right, it won’t. But if we do these things and it saves one life, don’t you think it’s worth it?’”