Dick's Sporting Goods to stop selling assault-style rifles

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Starting Wednesday, Dick's Sporting Goods is no longer selling assault-style rifles, the CEO Ed Stack announced. (WLS)

Starting Wednesday, Dick's Sporting Goods is no longer selling assault-style rifles, the CEO Ed Stack announced.

"We looked at what happened down in parkland and we were so disturbed and saddened by what happened, we felt we needed to do something and so we've decided not to sell these assault weapons any longer in any of our stores," Stack said.

Stack was on Good Morning America Wednesday morning talking about the company's decision to stop selling assault-style rifles. Dick's will also stop selling firearms to anyone under 21 years of age.

The move follows the revelation that Nikolas Cruz, the alleged Parkland shooter, bought a gun at Dick's last year.

"It wasn't the gun nor was it the type of gun that he used in the shooting, but when that happened, we realized that the system and we did everything by the book. We did everything that the law required and still he was able to buy a gun. He was still able to buy a gun and when we looked at that, we said the system that is are in place across the board just aren't effective enough to keep us from selling someone a gun like that," Stack said.

Stack made the announcement public in an open letter Wednesday morning. Stack said he's aware the decision won't be a welcome one, but they are ready for the backlash.

"We know this isn't going to make everyone happy, but when we take a look at what those kids and the parents and the heroes in the school, what they did and our view was if the kids can be brave enough to organize like this, we can be brave enough to take them out of here," he said.

Stack, a gun owner and staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, said based on what has happened around these weapons, Dick's simply did not want to be part of this story anymore.

On GMA, Stack also made a plea to Congress to take action, stressing this is about mental health and better background checks.

Aside from Dick's, the Pittsburgh-based, publicly traded company also operates stores under the Gold Galaxy, Field & Stream, True Runner and Chelsea Collective banners.

Dick's announced a temporary suspension of assault-style rifles from its stores after the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that killed 26 elementary school students and educators.

Assault-style rifles were later sold in the company's Field & Stream stores, according to Stack.

The gun debate has taken center stage in the wake of the Feb. 14 massacre at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. A gunman armed with an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle and multiple magazines killed 17 people and wounded 14 others.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel released a statement saying, ""When it comes to public safety, the private sector has a role to play too. I commend Dick's Sporting Goods for seeing the big picture, raising the age requirement for gun buyers and halting all sales of assault-style weapons. I believe in putting your money where your mouth is. I'm in the market for a new pair of running shoes, and this weekend I am going to pick them up at Dick's Sporting Goods. I am confident I will not be alone."
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