Local Gun Shows Respond To Dick's Sporting Goods' Announcement
Early Wednesday, Dick's Sporting Goods announced it would no longer be selling assault style weapons, or any gun to those under 21 years of age at their Field & Stream locations.
Walmart ceased the sale of those weapons years ago, but also reached a similar decision with regard to age, this afternoon.
National law only currently requires a person to be 18 to buy semi-automatic weapons, and 21 for handguns.
Both national chains released their new policy two weeks after 17 students and staff members were gunned down at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Wednesday also marks the first day back in the classroom for those students.
Despite the national line in the sand, local gun shops say they believe Dick’s and Walmart made their decision based on the demographics of shoppers, spread across America.
Metro shops including Wilshire Gun, Big Boy Guns, Ammo Range and H&H Shooting Sports all said this afternoon that they have no plans to change any of their existing polices, and will continue to sell semi-automatic guns in Oklahoma like they have for years.
However, sellers say if they get a bad feeling about someone, they will turn them away.
“We don't ever want to sell a gun to somebody that's going to commit a violent act. That's why we conduct the background checks according to law,” says H&H Manager Mike Rust. ““We rely on the federal government to make those decisions for us and tell us how to run our gun business and that's what we are going to do.”
Rust says they have seen an uptick in AR-15 sales following the tragic school shooting Florida. He added that the model provides protection and is very popular among hunters and sport shooters.
This isn't the first time Dick's has reacted in the wake of a school shooting. The national chain removed assault-style weapons in 2012, after a gunman killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Months later they began selling them in their Field & Stream locations.
Rust says he believes readily accessible mental health records should be included in existing background checks to identify and minimize risks.
“We do rely wholeheartedly on the NICS system (the National Instant Criminal Background Check System) that's administered by the FBI. That's how we know somebody is bad, when they tell us that we can't sell them a gun. I do believe that they need to do better to get mental health information into the NICS system,” Rust said.
The nearest Dick’s Field & Stream location to Oklahoma City is located in Dallas, TX.