Coraopolis, PA – Dick’s Sporting Goods has turned $5 million worth of “assault-style rifles” into scrap metal since the chain pulled the firearms from its shelves in 2018.
The company ended the sale of “assault-style rifles, also referred to as modern sporting rifles” on Feb. 28, 2018, in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in Parkland, Florida, according to a press release at the time.
“We at DICK’S Sporting Goods are deeply disturbed and saddened by the tragic events in Parkland,” the company said, referring to the Valentine’s Day high school shooting that left 17 people dead and another 17 wounded. “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.”
Instead of returning the unsold merchandise to manufacturers, Dick’s has been destroying the weapons at their distribution centers and then sent the parts to a salvage company to be recycled, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
These rifles have not been available through any Dick’s outlets since the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012, but were still being sold at the company’s 35 Field & Stream stores.
“All we were going to do was just take [AR-15’s] off the shelf and not say anything,” Stack said of the 2012 decision, according to CBS News.
Stack said he expected “backlash” over that move, but that he “didn’t expect what we got,” CBS News reported.
“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,” he said. “We just didn’t want to sell the assault-style weapons that could inflict that kind of damage.”
But after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre, Stack learned that his company had previously sold the shooter a firearm.
“We found out that we sold this kid a shotgun,” Stack told CBS News. “That’s when I said, ‘We’re done.'”
“Even though it wasn’t the gun he used. It could have been,” he added.
“We did everything by the book, and we did everything that the law required, and he was still able to buy a gun,” the CEO told Good Morning America at the time.
The company also changed its sales policy, and stopped selling firearms to people under the age of 21.
“The whole hunting business is an important part of our business, and we know there is going to be backlash on this,” Stack told The Inquirer in March of 2018. “[But] if the kids in Parkland are being brave enough to stand up and do this, we can be brave enough to stand up with them.”
Stack said that the move has cost the company a quarter of a billion dollars, but that he’s still considering pulling back firearms sales even more, CBS News reported.
He has already removed all firearms from 125 of the chain’s 729 stores, according to The Hill.
Stack said the ban may extend to all store locations in the future.
“The whole category is under strategic review,” he told CBS News with a laugh.
Stack acknowledged that such a move won’t stop mass shootings, but argued that “it’s worth it” if it “saves one life.”