Walmart, Dick’s Sporting Goods to limit sale of high-powered guns

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A general view of Dick's Sporting Goods store in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, U.S., February 28, 2018. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods have announced on Wednesday that they have taken steps to limit their own sales of firearms as a response to the violent school shooting that killed 17 people in Parkland, Florida two weeks ago.

Walmart, which is nation’s biggest gun seller, said that it would raise the minimum age required for anyone who wants to purchase guns to 21 years old. Additionally, the retail giant said that it would stop selling items resembling assault-style rifles, including toys and air guns.

The retail chain’s announcement came shortly after Dick’s Sporting Goods, another large seller of guns in the country, announced that it was immediately ending sales of all assault-style rifles across all of its stores. Like Walmart, the sporting shop will also be requiring any gun buyer to be at least 21 years old.

In a statement, Walmart said that it reviewed its policy on firearms “in light of recent events,” referring to the recent school shooting that had brought renewed attention to the years-long debate over gun control. According to a company spokesman, top executives from the company made the decision and then informed the board.

Walmart also noted that it had stopped selling high-powered rifles, including AR-15-style firearms, back in 2015.

The decision by Dick’s Sporting Goods was made by Edward Stack, the company’s chief executive. “When we saw what happened in Parkland, we were so disturbed and upset,” Stack said in an interview. “We love these kids and their rallying cry, ‘Enough is enough.’ It got to us.”

Stack added that the company is “going to take a stand and step up and tell people our view and, hopefully, bring people along into the conversation.”

“We have to help solve the problem that’s in front of us,” Dick’s Sporting Goods said in a statement. “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.”