Customers, fellow firearm business owners weigh in on Dick's Sporting Goods gun policy changes

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(WDBJ7) Shoppers were reacting Wednesday to news that two nation-wide stores are changing gun buying policies following the Parkland, Florida shooting two weeks ago.

Both Dick's Sporting Goods and Walmart will stop selling guns to anyone under 21.

Walmart is also pulling all toys and airsoft rifles that resemble assault-style weapons from their stores.

According to their statement, Dick’s Sporting Goods is stopping the sale of all assault-style weapons immediately. They actually first stopped that in 2012 following the Sandy Hook shooting, but 35 Field and Stream stores, owned by Dick's, will join the movement.

But Dick's is also now pulling high capacity magazines away from stores.

Customers continue to shop at Dick's in Christiansburg Wednesday.

Austin Belcher is customer from Blacksburg.

He said, “I think it sends a message that they're wanting to change, they're wanting to be at the forefront of it. I'm not sure if it's the right message but I don't know the answers but something has to be done.”

Other shoppers weren't comfortable talking about this on camera.

But hundreds took to Facebook, commenting on WDBJ7’s original article, some saying, "So happy a huge retailer had the nerve to do what is right. Hopefully others fall in line," "Thank you. 92% of Americans want stricter gun laws."

Others commented, "It's unconstitutional for you to deny services to someone if it's legal for them to purchase," "It was nice knowing you Dicks. When box stores are failing all over the place, is it wise to alienate customers?"

Two local firearm store owners also weighed in on the move by the national chain.

Big Boyz Guns President David White said, “It's disappointing that Dick's Sporting Goods would punish all gun owners on behalf of the pressures that they're under by the left and the anti-gun groups. I just don't feel that that's appropriate.”

Mitchell Tyler, the co-owner of Safeside Tactical said, “Some people will choose to stop shopping there because of it. Those people will likely be replaced with new customers that have never shopped at Dick's that now they want to go support a company that they feel aligns with them. Ultimately what that will do for us is it creates a conversation here.”

Neither owner said they'll be making the same changes as Dick's Sporting Goods or Walmart.

White said he's more in support of updating background checks. Tyler said as long as it's legal, he'll continue selling guns the same way. But he did say if state or federal law changed, he would abide by it.

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