Earlier this week, sporting goods giant Dick’s Sporting Goods announced in a letter from their CEO Edward Stack that they will halt the sale of all firearms similar to those used in the Parkland, Florida school shooting. According to the letter, they will no longer sell assault-style rifles or high capacity magazines in any of their online or retail locations.
News like this in the fallout of yet another mass shooting — this time killing 17 — is honestly shocking. It seems, shooting after shooting, that there is never any forward progress in the fight against gun violence. Whether it be increasing gun control, ramping up mental health care, or any of the other “fixes” lauded by either side of the aisle, it seems that partisanship always gets in the way of finding a lasting solution, and thoughts and prayers are instead given instead of a tangible fix for the loss of lives.
However, this shooting has been different. Survivors of the Parkland shooting have been protesting and demanding for stronger gun control laws nationwide since the shooting on Feb. 14. They have not only protested along the National Mall, but have also made their way along the media circuit with guest spots on Ellen DeGeneres and other talk shows. By staying vigilant and not allowing their grief to get in the way of their unfortunate advocacy platform, students are rising to make large scale change about something that has been in gridlock in the world of American politics for decades.
The Parkland shooting has sparked within the American community a determination to actually demand change from our legislators and society. Gov. Rick Scott recently raised the age to purchase firearms from 18 to 21 in the state of Florida. Florida, a staunchly red state with regards to its state legislature, is finally softening their stance on the second amendment. This is obviously in part to the fact that Florida was personally struck by this massacre, but also because of the community’s determination to turn their suffering into action.
Dick’s Sporting Goods was not legally required to change their gun laws. In fact, they are turning down the potential for massive profits, as a recent Tampa gun show boasted lines out the door and insane profits. Instead of capitalizing on the fear of Americans, Dick’s is instead using their platform as a national sporting goods chain and major company to set the industry standard. By choosing to negate their bottom line and make a political stance in favor of gun control, Dick’s is putting the health and well-being of Americans first. Companies too often get greedy and forget about the consequences of their actions. However, this selflessness and bravery to buck the status quo has gotten them a customer out of me.
The Parkland shooting was obviously a tragedy. However, it is a tragedy that has sparked anger and impatience in Americans. We are sick of waiting for change, but are instead grabbing the moment and forcing our lawmakers to actually do something other than tweet out their condolences to victims. Companies like Dick’s Sporting Goods, and lawmakers like Rick Scott, are navigating uncharted waters that might help to change and save lives. Bravo to them, they have found millions of supporters because of their bravery.
Samantha is a junior majoring in journalism. What do you think about the decision by Dick's Sporting Goods? What else do you think should be undertaken to curb gun violence? Send any comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.