George Diepenbrock
KU News Service

More retailers may stop selling assault rifles after Parkland, gun politics researcher says

Wed, 02/28/2018

LAWRENCE — A major sports retailer's decision to stop selling assault-style rifles could spur others to follow suit in the wake of the Parkland school shooting, according to a University of Kansas researcher of gun policy issues.

Two weeks after the shooting in Florida, Dick's Sporting Goods, one of the nation's largest sports retailers, made the assault rifle announcement as well as its plan to cease selling high-capacity magazines and to anyone younger than 21 regardless of local laws.

Don Haider-Markel, professor and chair of the Department of Political Science, is available to discuss the retailer's decision. A portion of his broad research portfolio focuses on political developments surrounding proposed gun-control legislation. Haider-Markel and Mark Joslyn, professor of political science, have co-authored numerous studies on politics surrounding gun policies and reaction to mass shootings. They also co-edited a 2017 special journal issue of Social Science Quarterly called Gun Politics.

"This is a big deal, and other retailers may follow," Haider-Markel said. "I'd liken this to the pressure corporations put on Indiana, North Carolina and Texas in recent years over LGBT issues."

He said Dick's might face some backlash from the pro-gun lobby but that neither the decision itself nor any potential backlash would have much influence on the retailer's bottom line.

To arrange an interview with Haider-Markel, contact George Diepenbrock at 785-864-8853 or

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