SANTA MARIA, Calif. - One of the nation's largest sporting good retailers has jumped into the national debate on firearms.
Dick's Sporting Goods announced Wednesday a handful of immediate policy changes it says it is making in light of the recent deadly school shooting in Parkland, Fla.
No longer will the company sell assault-style rifles. It says it had already removed the weapons from all of its Dick's stores after the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012, but will now remove them from all of its Field & Stream stores.
In addition, Dick's will no longer sell guns to any customer under 21 years old and will not sell high capacity magazines.
The policy changes comes exactly one week after Dick's opened a new store in Santa Maria.
Throughout the day, customers came into the store and were already aware of the major announcement.
"I think it's a sensible decision with what's going on," said customer Jackie Bayne. "I think it's common sense and I agree with it and I'm glad they're making a stand and I'm happy about it."
Bayne added she believes the company is providing leadership that is not happening from the federal government.
"Their standing up for what I think the majority of the country feels and what the people feel," Bayne said. "The politicians who are supposed to be representing us and the country and the people, they're now doing what I think the majority of the country does feel and I wish more politicians would actually represent what the majority of what the people feel."
Brice Garritsen, who is 19-years-old, also supports the new changes, even though it affects his ability to purchase a gun at the store if he wanted to.
"I think that's a good way to limit the public and being under the age of 21 they might not know how big the responsibilities are that come with a weapon," said Garritsen. "I do agree with the right to bear arms and the Second Amendment and everything, as for assault-style weaponry, I don't think that should be available anymore."
While many customers said they fully support the decision by Dick's, not everyone was in agreement.
One person at the store Wednesday who disagreed was Jim Harrington, He came to Dick's specifically to speak directly to the manager.
Harrington works at a local gun club and said he would tell patrons there to steer clear of the new store.
"I will not be advising that they come to Dick's. I'll be advising them to go to another store," said Harrington. "I won't be advising anyone to come to Dick's for ammo or any type of guns and if I can steer them away from Dick's completely, I will."
Harrington said the store will still sell weapons that can be just as deadly as the weapons they are removing from shelves.
"They're (people) perfectly able to find guns in here that you can kill someone with, shotguns that hold a lot of rounds that will kill a lot more people with one blast, but they don't say anything about those," said Harrington.
He was also upset at the new policy to no longer sell guns to customers under 21 years old.
"That's not the law yet," said Harrington. "I feel like let's follow the law people and that's their decision to make and my decision is to not to come to Dick's."
He added more attention needs to be given to what is causing people to commit mass shooting and not only blame firearms.
"Until the people start finding out that these are people with mental problems and we take better care of people who have mental problems, we're going to continue to have this," said Harrington.
Dick's was not able to provide anyone who could speak to KCOY directly on the changes. Instead, it referred the media and customers with questions to a support number.
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