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CEO Of Dick's Sporting Goods Says Company Has Destroyed $5M Worth Of AR-15s

Major gun retailers in America have started moving ever so cautiously against the AR-15 in the wake of several mass shootings, most notably an attack on a Walmart in El Paso in August. Dick's Sporting Goods was well ahead of them, however.

Ed Stack, the CEO of Dick's Sporting Goods, knows guns.

The Aspen Institute

His father started the company, and through Ed's lifetime, he's seen it grow into a massive presence across the nation, and become one of the country's largest firearms retailers. But in 2012, a gunman opened fire inside Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, killing 20 children and six adults.

For Ed, that was a turning point.

After that massacre, he ordered his company to quietly take the AR-15 off the shelves at all the stores.

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The Sandy Hook shooter had used a Bushmaster XM-15, very similar to the AR-15, and Ed didn't want to sell it anymore.

"All we were going to do was just take it off the shelf and not say anything," Ed told CBS News. "We probably get a little bit of a backlash, but we didn't expect what we got. All this about, you know, how we were anti-Second Amendment...none of that could be further from the truth. We just didn't want to sell the assault-style weapons that could inflict that kind of damage."

Ed and his wife Donna were given even more reason to re-think their position in the gun-selling business after the Parkland shooting.

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Although the Parkland shooter didn't use an AR-15, he did use a shotgun — purchased at Dick's. "That's when I said, 'We're done,'" Ed said. "Even though it wasn't the gun he used. It could have been."

After meeting with the Parkland survivors in Florida, Ed and Donna made another pledge, this time to refuse to sell firearms to anyone under 21. That decision cost Dick's "about a quarter of a billion" dollars.

But Ed and Donna were willing to pay that price.

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And to walk the walk, they even went so far as to destroy all the AR-15s and assault-style weapons they still had in stock — about $5 million worth of inventory.

"I said, 'You know what? If we really think these things should be off the street, we need to destroy them,'" Ed said.

It's not clear whether any guns will be on the shelves at Dick's in the future, either.

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About 100 stores across the country no longer sell guns, and Ed says "the whole category is under strategic review."

"So many people say to me, you know, 'If we do what you want to do, it's not going to stop these mass shootings,'" Ed said. "And my response is, 'You're probably right, it won't. But if we do these things and it saves one life, don't you think it's worth it?'"

h/t: CBS News