Dick's Sporting Goods hires gun control lobbyists to push for legislation in Washington

Dick's Sporting Goods announced earlier this year that it would no longer sell 'assault-style' weapons or high-capacity magazines 

Clark Mindock
New York
Friday 04 May 2018 03:45 BST
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The sporting goods retailer limited firearms options after the February shooting
The sporting goods retailer limited firearms options after the February shooting (AP)

Dick’s Sporting Goods is ramping up its efforts to promote gun control in the United States following the February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The sporting goods retailer — which is also one of the top firearms sellers in the US — has hired lobbyists to push for gun control in Washington. It is the latest move for the company after recently announcing it would no longer sell semi-automatic rifles in the style of the AR-15, and high capacity magazines.

In making those earlier changes, the company also announced that it would no longer sell firearms to people under the age of 21.

The company has hired Glover Park Group to represent its efforts in Washington, according to Senate lobbying disclosures filed in late April and reviewed by Bloomberg.

Dick’s — which is the largest sporting goods company in the US — was joined by several other companies in changing its firearms policies or offerings after the shooting in Parkland, Florida. Those other companies included Walmart, Kroger, and LL Bean.

When announcing the earlier decision to change its approach to firearms, Dick’s CEO said that, while the company supports Second Amendment rights, “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.”

The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School left 17 people dead, including 14 students and three adults who worked at the school. The shooting was carried out by a 19-year-old former student who arrived at the school in an Uber before opening fire in one of the buildings.

That shooting, which was the deadliest high school shooting in modern American history, has led to a sustained effort on behalf of gun control advocates to pressure politicians to initiate reforms.

That pressure has included at least two nation-wide school walk outs by students protesting gun violence, many of them vowing to register to vote and hold their elected officials accountable in this year’s midterm elections. Students have also organised the nationwide March for our Lives in March.

Several states have responded to the pressure by passing gun control measures, including bills in Florida and Vermont, two states with few gun control laws on the books beforehand. Both of those states also have Republican governors who signed the new policies.

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