Dick’s CEO: We ‘Expect Backlash,’ But ‘Don’t Want To Be Part Of This Story Any Longer’

Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO Edward Stack said Wednesday that his company “expect(s) backlash” from the hunting community for its decision to halt sales of assault rifles and not sell guns to anyone under 21.

But his company no longer wants to be part of the narrative surrounding mass shootings, he said.

Our hearts went out to those kids and to their parents,” he told CNN Wednesday, referencing the students and parents from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who have been advocating for gun control since 17 people were killed in a shooting at their school earlier this month. “Everybody talks about thoughts and prayers going out to them, and that’s great, but that doesn’t really do anything. We felt we needed to take a stand and do this.”

Stack, a gun owner, acknowledged that the hunting community is an important part of their business and there will “no doubt” be a large swath of customers angered by their decision, but he said the management team was inspired by the bravery of the teens who have been vocal about gun policy reform since the massacre.

When you look at those kids and their parents and the grief everyone is going through, we don’t want to be a part of this story any longer,” he said.

Last November, the alleged gunman, a 19-year-old former student of the high school, legally purchased a gun from Dick’s Sporting Goods, Stack said. The weapon was not the same guns he used in the school attack, but Stack said company officials “had a pit in our stomach” when they found out.

We looked at this and we went back and we did everything by the book that we were supposed to do from a legal standpoint,” he said. “We followed everything we were supposed to do, and somehow this kid was still able to buy a gun from us. … We need a responsibility to these kids, and we decided we’re not going to sell these anymore.”

After the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School five years ago, the company decided to suspend its sales of assault rifles, but the decision didn’t stick. Stack said that won’t be the case this time.

We concluded that, if these kids are brave enough to organize and do what they’re doing, we should be brave enough to take the stand and that’s what we’ve done,” he said.  

Watch a portion of the interview below:

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest Livewire
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: