Arizonans unsettled on Dick's Sporting Goods rifle debate

The sporting goods store's CEO, Edward W. Stack, admitted in a statement that his store legally sold a shotgun to Florida shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz, but the weapon wasn't used in the shooting.

PHOENIX - Mixed responses from Valley residents are swirling after Dick’s Sporting Goods announced the company will stop selling assault-style rifles at all of its stores, including field and stream stores.

Judith Simons, a retired school teacher, heard about the company’s announcement and went out to purchase workout pants at the Dick’s store in Tempe.

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RELATED: Dick's Sporing Goods stops selling assault-style rifles

"I don't need this but I came today to support the decision," said Simons, talking about the pants she bought.

Other customers reacted differently.

"I think it's their choice on what they want to do. The gun situation, I mean we're from Texas so I don't think that guns kill people," said Dane King. He doesn’t plan to stop shopping at Dick’s, however.

The sporting goods store's CEO, Edward W. Stack, admitted in a statement that his store legally sold a shotgun to Florida shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz, but the weapon wasn’t used in the shooting.

The full statement from Stack is this:

We at DICK’S Sporting Goods are deeply disturbed and saddened by the tragic events in Parkland. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the victims and their loved ones.

But thoughts and prayers are not enough.

We have tremendous respect and admiration for the students organizing and making their voices heard regarding gun violence in schools and elsewhere in our country.

We have heard you. The nation has heard you.

We support and respect the Second Amendment, and we recognize and appreciate that the vast majority of gun owners in this country are responsible, law-abiding citizens. But we have to help solve the problem that’s in front of us. 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.

Following all of the rules and laws, we sold a shotgun to the Parkland shooter in November of 2017. It was not the gun, nor type of gun, he used in the shooting. But it could have been.

Clearly this indicates on so many levels that the systems in place are not effective to protect our kids and our citizens.

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We believe it’s time to do something about it.

Beginning today, DICK’S Sporting Goods is committed to the following:

  • We will no longer sell assault-style rifles, also referred to as modern sporting rifles. We had already removed them from all DICK’S stores after the Sandy Hook massacre, but we will now remove them from sale at all 35 Field & Stream stores.
  • We will no longer sell firearms to anyone under 21 years of age.
  • We will no longer sell high capacity magazines.
  • We never have and never will sell bump stocks that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire more rapidly.

At the same time, we implore our elected officials to enact common sense gun reform and pass the following regulations:

  • Ban assault-style firearms
  • Raise the minimum age to purchase firearms to 21
  • Ban high capacity magazines and bump stocks
  • Require universal background checks that include relevant mental health information and previous interactions with the law
  • Ensure a complete universal database of those banned from buying firearms
  • Close the private sale and gun show loophole that waives the necessity of background checks

We hope others join us in this effort to let our kids know that their pleas are being taken seriously.

Some will say these steps can’t guarantee tragedies like Parkland will never happen again. They may be correct – but if common sense reform is enacted and even one life is saved, it will have been worth it.

We deeply believe that this country’s most precious gift is our children. They are our future. We must keep them safe.