In an interview with CBS News Sunday night, the CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods revealed the toughening stance the chain has begun to take on gun control.
CEO Ed Stack said that, after deciding not to sell assault rifles, his company has destroyed about $5 million worth of the firearms from their inventory instead of choosing to return them to manufacturers.
“I said, ‘You know what? If we really think these things should be off the street, we need to destroy them,'” Stack told CBS News’ Lee Cowan.
He gave no further information about when or how the merchandise was destroyed.
Stack said that his decisions on how Dick’s Sporting Goods should sell guns changed when mass shootings began to happen more frequently.
After the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting in Newton, Conn., he said he ordered all the AR-15 semi-automatic rifles to be removed from all the stores across the country. He said this was done without any announcement from the company and that the company received some backlash.
“We probably get a little bit of a backlash, but we didn’t expect to get what we got,” Stack said. “All this about, you know, how we were anti-Second Amendment, you know, ‘we don’t believe in the Constitution,’ and none of that could be further from the truth. We just didn’t want to sell the assault-style weapons that could inflict that kind of damage.”
The 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Fla., led to Stack making even stricter changes to the gun selling policy. He announced that firearms would no longer be sold to anyone under 21, a decision that he says led to the company losing “about a quarter of a billion” dollars.
Stack also said that many stores have stopped selling firearms all together. Right now, he said guns have been removed from more than 100 Dick Sporting Good stores and he is considering to make this ban in all of the stores.
“So many people say to me, you know, ‘If we do what you want to do, it’s not going to stop these mass shootings,'” Stack told Cowan. “And my response is, ‘You’re probably right, it won’t. But if we do these things and it saves one life, don’t you think it’s worth it?'”
Stack’s new policy decisions received praise from Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke on Monday, who tweeted that the company is doing more to keep America safe from gun violence than Congress.