In ending assault gun sales, Dick’s issues a call to arms

Dick’s Sporting Goods has not only stopped selling assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. By calling for a ban on assault-style firearms and more, this national retailer has become a national leader.

Now, will politicians hear the call?

ADVERTISING


If a company that sells guns can understand that assault weapons don’t belong in civilian hands, that people under 21 should not be able to buy guns, and that high-capacity magazines should be banned — and that these simple steps can be taken without violating anyone’s Second Amendment rights — then shouldn’t politicians be able to understand that as well?

This nation used to have an assault weapons ban. Connecticut’s ban has passed constitutional muster. Even former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, in the oft-cited Heller decision, recognized that the Constitution allows the government to limit access to certain kinds of weapons. Not anyone can buy a rocket launcher.

The task before Congress now is to recognize that banning assault weapons is not just within its rights but among its responsibilities. In the absence of congressional action, Dick’s accepted this responsibility. It sets an example for other gun retailers.

Dick’s is not the only company to make a public stand against gun violence since the shooting at a Parkland, Fla., high school that took the lives of 17 students and staff on Feb. 14. A number of companies, including airlines and car rental companies, have publicly cut ties with the National Rifle Association and stopped offering discounts to NRA members.

It’s as if everyone is waking up, except for the politicians who are afraid to stand up to the bullying tactics of the NRA.

Dick’s initially stopped selling AR-15-style weapons in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, but then resumed at its Field &Stream stores. Those stores — numbering only 35, none in Connecticut — will no longer sell assault-style rifles, according to Dick’s. It’s a mostly symbolic step, but the message is clear.

Dicks also called for expanding background checks and closing loopholes that allow gun sales outside the system.

This is what progress looks like.

ADVERTISING


Thank you, Dick’s Sporting Goods, for doing what’s right.

— The Hartford Courant