Tim McGraw Thanks Retailers for ‘Taking a Stand’ on Gun Sales
Tim McGraw turned to social media to thank several retailers who have changed certain policies regarding gun sales in response to a wave of public support after a recent mass shooting at a Florida high school.
Seventeen people died when a 19-year-old former student opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14. The students who survived that shooting have been at the front of a new wave of public calls for sensible changes to U.S. gun laws, and though there has been little legislative action or even much substantive talk on the federal level, a few retailers have taken it upon themselves to change their policies in regard to gun sales. Dick's Sporting Goods, Walmart, Kroger and L.L. Bean are among the retailers who have announced self-imposed changes.
"Thank you @DICKS for taking a stand to promote a meaningful discussion for the safety of our kids! @Walmart, @kroger, and @LLBean too," McGraw writes.
Dick's has announced it will no longer sell "assault rifles, also referred to as modern sporting rifles. We had already removed them from all Dick’s stores after the Sandy Hook massacre, but we will now remove them from sale at all 35 Field & Stream stores," the company writes in a statement.
Dick's will no longer sell firearms to anyone under the age of 21, and the retailer is also halting sales of high capacity magazines. The company notes that it has never sold the bump-stock devices like the ones used in the Vegas shooting, which allow semi-automatic weapons to fire like automatic weapons.
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In its statement, Dick's also implored elected officials to pass what many experts believe are pieces of legislation that could help to prevent future mass shootings. Those measures include banning assault weapons, raising the minimum age to buy a gun to 21, banning high capacity magazines and bump stocks, requiring a universal background check for all gun buyers that includes relevant information about mental health and previous interactions with law enforcement, maintaining a universal database of people banned from owning guns and closing the private sales and gun show loopholes that allow many to bypass whatever background checks are already in place.
WalMart is also raising the minimum age to purchase guns and ammunition to 21, as well as removing all items resembling assault rifles from its website. Kroger is following suit, and so is L.L. Bean.
McGraw is one of a small handful of country artists who have spoken out on gun control. He and Faith Hill opened up in an interview with Billboard one day after the 2017 CMA Awards. McGraw is a gun owner, but he says, "There is some common sense that’s necessary when it comes to gun control. They want to make it about the Second Amendment every time it’s brought up. It’s not about the Second Amendment."
"Military weapons should not be in the hands of civilians," Hill adds. "It’s everyone’s responsibility, including the government and the National Rifle Association, to tell the truth. We all want a safe country."
CNN reports that three of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history have occurred within the last five months, including the mass shooting that killed 58 and wounded more than 700 more at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas. Just over a month later, another gunman killed at least 26 people in a mass shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
According to statistics from Everytown for Gun Safety, there were 18 instances in which guns were discharged in schools in the United States in the first two months of 2018. The Parkland shooting has created a new wave of energized protests from citizens, and country music artists including Cam, Margo Price, Jennifer Nettles, Brothers Osborne and more are among those who expressed outrage over legislative inaction on gun control afterward.
McGraw previously turned to Instagram to share his support for the students who have been speaking out after the Parkland shooting.
"I learned one of the teachers who was shot in Florida at Stoneman Douglas, Scott Beigel, was a friend of one of my associates — they were camp counselors together," he wrote. "What an amazing man who lost his life protecting the children. That is a true hero. And I’m deeply moved by these students who are lifting their voices - challenging us to listen, learn, and make real changes. #NeverAgain."
Two top country songwriters, Tim Nicols and Jim Beavers, also penned a moving tribute song to the students who died in the Parkland shooting titled "Goodbye My Friend."
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