PITTSBURGH, PENN: The decision of leading gunseller Dick’s Sporting Goods to stop selling assault rifles or selling any guns to people under the age of 21 has added momentum to the gun control movement and may encourage more brands to take a stand.

CEO Edward Stack said the retailer had been “disturbed and upset” by the Parkland school shooting, not least because it had sold a gun to the shooter in November last year, although this hadn’t been used in the massacre of 17 students.

“We’re going to take a stand and step up and tell people our view and, hopefully, bring people along into the conversation,” he declared.

Those people include elected officials, The New York Times reported. Stack called on them to enact “common sense gun reform”, including raising the age threshold for purchase and conducting more extensive background checks.

Dick’s Sporting Goods joins a growing list of brands which have taken a stance of some sort. Several have dissociated themselves from the National Rifle Association while Gucci donated $500,000 to March for Our Lives, the movement for stricter gun control created by Parkland survivors.

“Companies great and small are reading the temperature in this country with regard to gun control and making the right decisions for their employees and customers,” Chris Allieri of communications and marketing consultancy Mulberry & Astor, told Ad Week.

“Support of the Second Amendment is not at play here,” he added. “Support of the NRA is.”

Given the current polarised political environment and the speed at which something like March For Our Lives can grab the public imagination, “politics will be inescapable for the corporate sector”, according to Jerry Davis, Professor of Management and Sociology, University of Michigan.

“What counts as ’political’ is encompassing an ever greater group of activities, ranging from which websites a company’s ads pop up on to who its customers are,” he wrote in Wired.

“In this new era, companies will be forced to choose their friends wisely.”

Sourced from The New York Times, Adweek, GQ, Wired; additional content by WARC staff