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Local gun store owner says Dick’s move on guns is a publicity stunt

ST. LOUIS - Dick's Sporting Good announced Wednesday it would end sales of "assault-style rifles" like the AR-15, the weapon that was used in the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

A local gun store owner has called Dick's decision nothing more than a publicity stunt.

"They're doing it so more people will come in and buy canoes and tennis shoes, sporting apparel; because they're not a true gun shop," said Steve King, owner of Metro Shooting Supplies in Bridgeton.

After the Sandy Hook school shooting, Dick's stopped selling what it called "assault rifles" at their Field and Stream stores, then brought them back without an announcement. Dick's doesn't have any of those stores in the St. Louis area. Dick's stores haven't sold handguns in their stores in over four years.

King said it's important to understand what an AR-15 actually is. He said it's not an assault-style rifle, but rather a semi-automatic weapon.

"This is a semi-automatic. No difference from a handgun," he said. "You have to pull trigger each time to make it go bang.

King said he doesn't believe Dick's announcement will make any difference.

Dick's CEO Ed Stack issued the following statement Wednesday:

"We did everything that the law required and still (the shooter) was able to buy a gun. When we looked at that, we said the systems that are in place across the board just aren't effective enough to keep us from selling a gun like that. And so we've decided we're not going to sell the assault-type rifles any longer."

King adds that the modern sporting rifle is a great and popular gun. He also stressed that the AR-15 was even available for purchase while the assault weapons ban-enacted in 1994-was in place.