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Dick’s Sporting Goods 'Destroying' Assault-Style Rifles Pulled from Shelves

Dick’s Sporting Goods, one of the nation’s largest sports retailers, will be destroying all firearms that it has pulled from its shelves.

Following the announcement in February that retail giant Dick’s Sporting Goods would stop selling assault-style rifles and high capacity magazines in its stores, the retailer has announced that instead of returning the unsold merchandise to the manufacturer, it will be destroying it at the company’s distribution centers. The parts will then be sent to a salvage center to be recycled.

“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.”

In addition to pulling assault-style rifles and high capacity magazines from its stores, the retail giant also announced on Feb. 28 that it would no longer sell guns to anyone under 21 years of age, regardless of local laws.

The announcement stemmed from the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida two weeks earlier, where 17 students and adults were killed when gunman Nikolas Cruz opened fire with an AR-15.

“When we saw what happened in Parkland, we were so disturbed and upset. We love these kids and their rallying cry, ‘enough is enough.’ It got to us,” Dick’s CEO Edward Stack told The New Work Times. “We’re going to take a stand and step up and tell people our view and, hopefully, bring people along into the conversation.”

Shortly after news of the shooting broke, Stack says that the retailer began scouring records, soon discovering that it had legally sold a gun to Cruz in November, though it wasn’t the gun or type of gun used in the massacre.

“But it came to us that we could have been a part of this story,’’ he said. “We said, ‘We don’t want to be a part of this any longer.”

While the company briefly removed assault-style rifles from its retail stores after the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Stack said that this time the changes will be permanent, stating “We don’t want to be a part of a mass shooting.”

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“If the kids in Parkland are being brave enough to stand up and do this, we can be brave enough to stand up with them,” he concluded.

Dick’s Sporting Goods was not the only major retailer to change policy in the wake of the deadly shooting. Major supermarket chain Kroger announced in March that they would “phase out” all gun sales in their Fred Meyer chain. Prior to that, Walmart announced that it would be raising the minimum age to purchase a firearm to 21-years-old.