Dick's Sporting Goods is not only pulling assault rifles from its shelves, but also destroying them.
The chain's subsidiary, Field and Stream, will demolish them at distribution centers, then send the wreckage to a salvage company for recycling.
“We are in the process of destroying all firearms and accessories that are no longer for sale as a result of our February 28th policy change,” a spokeswoman told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “We are destroying the firearms in accordance with federal guidelines and regulations.”
Federal guidelines for destroying guns require that the weapons be crushed, cut, or broken apart — usually by a torch rather than a saw — to prevent further use.
Just days after the mass shooting of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the sporting goods chain announced it would stop selling assault rifles, like the AR-15, which was the style of gun allegedly used in the shooting, as well as the one most commonly used in mass shootings.
“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,” the company said in a statement announcing the new policy in February. “But we have to help solve the problem that’s in front of us.”
What is compelling about Dick's Sporting Goods' decision is that retailers typically sell unwanted merchandise back to the manufacturers rather than destroy it. The sporting goods chain seems very intent on sending a message — perhaps to manufacturers, to congress, or to the public at large — about how much the Parkland tragedy affected the company's leadership.
Dick's continued commitment in this cause should not go unrecognized. With more than 700 locations in 47 states, the store is a major player in gun retail. The nation needs more major corporations taking a strong moral stance on proliferation of assault weapons.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Eduardo Munoz