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Locals react to chain stores removing sporting rifles from shelves

Sporting rifles will continue to be sold at ATP Gun Shop & Range in Ladson (Source: Live 5) Sporting rifles will continue to be sold at ATP Gun Shop & Range in Ladson (Source: Live 5)

Local gun shop owners say they will continue to sell modern sporting rifles including AR-15s and AK-47s despite box stores like Dick’s Sporting Goods pulling them from their shelves.

Wednesday Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO Edward Stack announced effective immediately, it will end sales of all assault-style rifles in all of its stores, including Field & Stream.

“We support and respect the Second Amendment, and we recognize and appreciate that the vast majority of gun owners in the is country are responsible,” Stack said in a statement. “But we have to help solve the problem that’s in front of us. Gun violence is an epidemic and that’s taking the lives of too many people, including the brightest hope for the future of America – our kids.”

"I think that's bad business," said Paul Caulder, a gun owner.

"I think that's a good thing because the kids are now getting guns and it's ridiculous,” said Alexis Parker, who supports the decision. "It's awful, and it's something that's ongoing.”

Lowcountry gun shops have different opinions on this measure.

“It’s their right to sell something or not to sell something,” said President and Owner of ATP Gun Shop & Range Arlyn Pendergast. “The only thing I have something against is it’s your Second Amendment right to buy something at 18.”

Pendergast said what’s happening in our society these days with the number of mass shootings is an issue. However, the cause of these shootings is what needs to be addressed.

“The gun didn’t do anything, it was the person pulling the trigger,” Pendergast said. “Over in Europe because of guns being a little harder to get, they started just renting trucks and running over people in the parking lots. They don’t come out and say let’s ban trucks. It’s the same exact thing. Let’s punish the person, not the inanimate object that isn’t doing nothing.”

"That's true too,” Parker said. “That's true too, but what can you do?" 

A spokesperson for Palmetto State Armory stated, “to blame a tool such as a firearm is at very best missing the point of the problem.”

Stack also called on elected officials to ban assault-style firearms and raise the minimum age on all guns to 21.

"They shouldn't have been legal necessarily to begin with,” said Courtney Callaway, who supports the box store’s decision. “They're not necessary."

With this decision though, some folks believe this could actually benefit some of the local shops in the area.

“I've been at Walmart, been at Dick's and that's why I'm here today at ATP," Caulder said. 

Walmart also announced Wednesday that stores will not sell firearms or ammunition to customers under the age of 21. 

“In 2015, Walmart ended sales of modern sporting rifles, including the AR-15,” a spokesperson stated. “We also do not sell handguns, except in Alaska where we feel we should continue to offer them to our customers… We take seriously our obligation to be a responsible seller of firearms and go beyond Federal law by requiring customers to pass a background check before purchasing any firearm. The law would allow the sale of a firearm if no response to a background check request has been received within three business days, but our policy prohibits the sale until an approval is given.”

"This really should be an opportunity for everyone to come together and work on the problem at hand," said John Kicklighter, a gun owner.

According to Stack, assault-style rifles were removed from all Dick’s stores after the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012.

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