February 28, 2018 09:08 AM

Dick’s Sporting Goods announced Wednesday that the chain will no longer sell assault-style weapons like the AR-15-style rifle used to kill 17 people in the Parkland, Florida, high school shooting.

In addition, the sporting goods store will no longer sell firearms to anyone under 21 years of age and will no longer sell high-capacity magazines, according to a press release from the retailer.

“We at DICK’S Sporting Goods are deeply disturbed and saddened by the tragic events in Parkland. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the victims and their loved ones. But thoughts and prayers are not enough,” Dick’s Chairman and CEO Edward Stack said in the press release. “We have tremendous respect and admiration for the students organizing and making their voices heard regarding gun violence in schools and elsewhere in our country. We have heard you. The nation has heard you.”

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

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Stack appeared on Good Morning America Wednesday to announce the news. He also noted that the Parkland shooter, Nikolas Cruz, purchased a shotgun from a Dick’s Sporting Goods in November 2017.

“It wasn’t the gun nor was it the type of gun that he used in the shooting, but when that happened we realized that the system — and we did everything by the book, we did everything that the law required — and still he was able to buy a gun,” Stack said. “And when we looked at that, we said, the systems that are in place across the board just aren’t effective enough.”

Stack said the company is prepared for any backlash it might get, but he points to the brave survivors and victims of the Parkland shooting as inspiration for the company’s decision.

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“We know that this isn’t going to make everyone happy, but when we take a look at what those kids and the parents and the heroes in the school of what they did. Our view was if the kids can be brave enough to organize like this, we can be brave enough to take these out of here,” he said.

Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

Although assault-style weapons were permanently pulled from Dick’s stores following the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012, the weapons became available at the company’s Field & Stream locations, which specialize in outdoors, fishing and hunting.

However, Stack said that this time, the change will be permanent.

“Based on what’s happened, and looking at those kids and those parents, it moved us all unimaginably,” he explained. “To think about the loss and the grief that those kids and those parents had, we said, ‘We need to do something and we’re taking these guns out of all of our stores permanently.'”

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