A couple of customers going into Dick's Sporting Goods in Highland had different views of the major U.S. retailer's recent decision to halt sales of assault-style rifles and high-capacity magazines at all its stores and ban the sale of all guns to anyone younger than 21.
One thought it was a bad decision, the other said it was the right thing to do.
Dick's announcement Wednesday came as students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, returned to class for the first time since 17 students and educators were killed by a gunman wielding an AR-15 two weeks ago.
Walmart also announced Wednesday that it will no longer sell firearms and ammunition to people younger than 21 and would also remove items resembling assault-style rifles from its website.
Outside the Dick's in Highland, Theodore Michas, of Hammond, was not happy with the decision.
"I don't support it," he said.
Michas, who said he is on disability leave from the Cook County Sheriff's Department, brought up the fact that the Broward County Sheriff’s Office in Florida is investigating allegations that multiple deputies did not enter the school during the shooting and said, as a result, "now it's the gun's fault."
Michas asked if a vehicle like the Hummer would be banned if the shooter had used that on students leaving the school instead.
Michas also does not agree with Dick's banning the sale of guns to anyone younger than 21. Michas said he joined the military at age 17 with his parents' signature and that it would mean he would not have been able to buy for personal use at that age the gun he had to carry for military service.
Another shopper heading into the Dick's store, Marshal Miller, of Schererville, supports the retailer's decision.
"I think they are correct," he said. "The only reason I'm here is to buy something to support them. I don't even need it."
Miller said everyone should do the same as Dick's.
"Those magazines and assault rifles — bad things," he said.
Dick's, one of the most well-known gun retailers in the U.S., had cut off sales of assault-style weapons at Dick's stores following the Sandy Hook school shooting in Connecticut. But sales had resumed at its chain of stores under the name Field & Stream.
"When we saw what the kids were going through and the grief of the parents and the kids who were killed in Parkland, we felt we needed to do something," Chairman and CEO Ed Stack said on "Good Morning America."
The decision to overhaul its own rules on gun sales puts the company out front in a falling-out between corporate America and groups such as the National Rifle Association.
A number of major U.S. corporations including MetLife, Hertz, Delta Airlines and First National Bank of Omaha, one of the nation's largest privately held banks, cut ties with the NRA in the days following the Parkland shooting.
Gun-control advocacy groups said voters and corporations are taking the lead on U.S. gun policy, and lawmakers need to catch up.
The NRA has pushed back aggressively against calls for raising age limits for guns, or limits on sales of assault-style weapons.