Local gun stores react to Dick’s decision to end sale of assault rifles

Midlothian, Va. (WRIC) — Dick’s Sporting Goods has decided to put an end to the sale of assault-style weapons and the sale of any gun to people under 21.

The chairman of Dick’s Sporting Goods says he was moved by the students from Florida’s Stoneman Douglas High School, the scene of this month’s mass shooting that left 17 dead.

“I think it’s strictly a PR thing, of course, that is obviously their choice,” said David Hancock with Bob Moates Sports Shop.

Hancock says they don’t sell any assault-style weapons to anyone under 21. He says it’s a policy they’ve had for years. Hancock says they believe there needs to be a maturity level to own something like an AR-15.

Hancock says while some of their younger customers haven’t done anything illegal with them, they’ve made questionable decisions.

“We’ve had people go out and handle them a little more recklessly than we’d like to see,” said Hancock.

He says he doesn’t know if local shops like theirs will necessarily see a bump in sales because of Dick’s decision. He does believe not selling any guns to buyers under 21 will hurt the company’s bottom line.

“I would not have raised the age on the regular shotguns or hunting rifles. Again they’re going to lose a lot of business because of that,” said Hancock.

8News also reached out to Green Top Hunting and Fishing. While they declined to weigh in on Dick’s Sporting Goods’ decision, CEO Blaine Altaffer says his store will not sell assault-style rifles to anyone under 21.  He says they have had that policy for decades.

Meanwhile, Hancock says he doesn’t believe Dick’s decision will necessarily move Congress to take any action on gun control or have gun shops follow suit.

Dick’s pulled assault-style rifles off the shelves after the Sandy Hook massacre back in 2012 but that policy didn’t last.  This time though, they say it won’t change.

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