Dick’s ends sales of assault-style rifles in stores

NEW YORK — Dick’s Sporting Goods will immediately halt sales of assault-style rifles and high-capacity magazines at all of its stores and ban the sale of all guns to anyone under 21.

Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. is based just outside of Pittsburgh in a state where the first day of deer hunting season is an unofficial holiday for many families.

While the guns that have been pulled from the racks at stores owned by Dick’s are not typically used for hunting, the company has entered the type of intense national conversation that most companies try to steer clear of to avoid offending potential customers on either side.

Dick’s announcement Wednesday came as students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., return to class for the first time since a teenager killed 17 students and educators two weeks ago with an AR-15.

Dick’s, a major gun retailer, had cut off sales of assault-style weapons at Dick’s stores following the Sandy Hook school shooting. But Dick’s owns dozens of its Field & Stream stores, where there has been no such ban in place.

Walmart Inc., also a big gun seller, stopped selling AR-15 rifles and other semi-automatic weapons in 2015, citing weak sales.

The National Rifle Association has pushed back aggressively against calls for raising age limits for guns, or limits on sales of assault-style weapons.