The deadly Valentine's Day school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida has inspired a movement among teens to protest for changes in gun laws. Retail outlets that sell assault weapons are taking notice. Dick's Sporting Goods indicated Wednesday that it is making a huge move inspired by the mass murder, which killed 17.
Assault-style weapons will soon be gone from Dick's display cases. The company announced the move on Twitter and ABC's Good Morning America.
In the exclusive interview on GMA, Dick's CEO Edward Stack told George Stephanopoulos that due to "what’s happened and looking at those kids and those parents, it moved us all unimaginably."
Stack said that considering "the loss and the grief that those kids and those parents had" prompted the company to say, "We need to do something."
The gun Nikolas Cruz used in the assault wasn't purchased at Dick's, but he bought a gun there in 2017. Stack said in that instance his company "did everything that the law required and still he was able to buy a gun."
"When we looked at that," continued Stack, "we said, ‘The systems that are in place across the board just aren’t effective enough to keep us from selling someone a gun like that.’"
The store will remove the weapons immediately. Asked if the company would ever change its mind, Stack was succinct: "Never."
He was also clear as to what inspired the move, telling ABC that seeing "what those kids and the parents and the heroes in the school, what they did, our view was if the kids can be brave enough to organize like this, we can be brave enough to take these out of here."
Social media response was mixed.
That Dick's doesn't foresee reversing the ban indicates it's for real, not necessarily a cynical and temporary change meant to keep a broad customer base.
It remains to be seen what effect it will have at all. There are still plenty of gun retailers out there ready to take up the slack.