Stars including Elizabeth Banks, Alyssa Milano, and Josh Groban have applauded bosses at a top sports retailer for banning sales of assault-style weapons in response to the latest U.S. high school shooting.
Dick's Sporting Goods CEO Ed Stack announced the groundbreaking decision on Wednesday (28Feb18), two weeks after a disgruntled former student walked onto the campus of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and opened fire on staff and students, killing 17 people, using an AR-15 rifle he had purchased at the store.
His actions prompted survivors to organise the upcoming March for Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C. in an effort to force politicians to tighten U.S. firearms laws, and now Dick's Sporting Goods chiefs are taking steps of their own to combat gun violence, declaring: "We don't want to be a part of this story any longer."
"We know there's gonna be some backlash...," Stack told CNN. "We concluded that if these kids are brave enough to organise and do what they're doing, then we should be brave enough to take this stand."
The move has been well-received by celebrity activists, who took to social media to celebrate the change in store policy from America's biggest sporting goods firm.
"This is a BIG DEAL," wrote actress/filmmaker Elizabeth Banks. "Props to Dick's & Power to the #Parkland students for continuing to speak out."
"Thank you, @DICKS for not selling assault weapons anymore and choosing our children's safety over money," posted mother-of-two Alyssa Milano. "I will buy (her kids) milo and bella's sporting goods at @dicks. Your leadership on this issue is so appreciated."
Singer Josh Groban also expressed a desire to spend a ton of money at the store in support, quipping, "I suddenly feel like buying a baseball mitt, some tennis strings, a football helmet, a lacrosse stick, and pare of pole vault sneakers, a jock-strap, soccer cleats, Astro turf, hockey gloves and a power bar."
"Let's support @dick. Powerful move chock-full of concience (sic)," encouraged former Glee star Jane Lynch, as actress Jaime King wrote, "THIS IS HUGE!!! Thank you to the amazing kids from #StonemanDouglas and to #EdStack @dickssportingss for choosing life over money."
Actors Zach Braff, John Leguizamo, and Debra Messing also championed the move online, while Captain America's Chris Evans hailed the news as "amazing".