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Dick's Sporting Goods

The two-level Dick's Sporting Goods opened at Gateway mall in September. 

GWYNETH ROBERTS, Journal Star file photo

Walmart and Dick's Sporting Goods — both major retailers with presences in Nebraska — have decided to stop selling guns to anyone under 21 years old following last month's school massacre in Parkland, Florida.

In addition, Dick's said it will end all remaining sales of assault-style rifles and will no longer sell high-capacity magazines.

Dick's Chairman and CEO Edward Stack said on "Good Morning America" on Wednesday that after the shooting the company "felt it needed to do something."

Walmart announced its new policy later in the day.

"We are also removing items from our website resembling assault-style rifles, including nonlethal airsoft guns and toys," the retailer said in a news release. "Our heritage as a company has always been in serving sportsmen and hunters, and we will continue to do so in a responsible way."

Walmart stopped selling AR-15 guns and other semi-automatic weapons in 2015. It doesn't sell bump stocks, the accessory attached to a semi-automatic gun that makes it easier to fire rounds faster. It also doesn't sell large-capacity magazines. 

Dick's said in a statement on its website that it stopped selling assault-style rifles in its flagship stores after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December 2012.

It had started selling them again last fall in its 35 Field & Stream stores, none of which are in Nebraska. There is a Dick's Sporting Goods store at Gateway Mall in Lincoln that opened last year, and the company also has stores in Grand Island and in the Omaha area.

The strongly worded announcement from Dick's came as students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School returned to class for the first time since a teenager killed 17 students and educators with an AR-15 rifle two weeks ago.

"When we saw what the kids were going through and the grief of the parents and the kids who were killed in Parkland, we felt we needed to do something," Stack told ABC.

Stack said the gunman, Nickolas Cruz, had purchased a gun at a Dick's store, but not the one he used at the school shooting, even though all existing rules were followed. Stack says that the system that's in place won't stop sales to dangerous people and said lawmakers must do something.

With the change in sales practices, Dick's and Walmart took their place in the falling-out between corporate America and the gun lobby. Several major corporations, including First National Bank of Omaha, MetLife, Hertz and Delta Air Lines, have cut ties with the NRA since the Florida tragedy, but until now, none were retailers that sold guns.

Other large sporting goods retailers have yet to announce any changes in their gun sales policies. Cabela's and Bass Pro Shops, which bought Cabela's last year, continue to sell assault-style rifles, as does Scheels.

 

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Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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