Statement by Evangelical Leader on Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart Gun Sale Policies After Fox & Friends Interview Today

Leading evangelical spokesman, the Reverend Dr. Rob Schenck (pronounced “Shank”), a long-time Christian minister to top government officials in Washington, DC, and president of The Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute, appeared on Fox News Fox & Friends today to commend decisions by retailers Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart for their change on gun sales.

Dick’s Sporting Goods will no longer sell high capacity, rapid-fire, semi-automatic rifles and Walmart has raised the purchase age for all guns to 21. Rev. Schenck, who holds an NRA life membership and votes on nominees to its board of directors, said today these actions are “morally courageous, highly ethical, and socially responsible decisions.”

He went on to say, “There is no need for these battle-field inspired weapons . . . they are the guns of choice for mass murderers and terrorists.”

Schenck adds to his televised comments, “I agree with the call by Dick’s CEO Edward Stack to outright ban assault style weapons. There are plenty of options for sports shooting and hunting. The AR15, AK47, Bushmaster, and other high-capacity, rapid-fire, semi-auto long guns are designed to hunt humans, not animals. They are fast becoming the weapons of choice for mass murderers and terrorists.

“In states like Arkansas, hunters understand this. For Duck hunting, you are limited to three rounds in your chamber. Add a fourth bullet when hunting a duck, and your gun will be confiscated, your hunting license will be revoked, you may even have to surrender your truck. Hunters understand that these restrictions are in their best interest.

“Why do we accept limitations on duck hunting, but not on human hunting? You can use three bullets to hunt ducks, but you can use an unlimited number of bullets to hunt humans. That’s supremely immoral.

“20 tiny tykes blown to pieces in Newtown, 49 people in Orlando with 50 grievously injured, 58 slaughtered and 850 wounded in Las Vegas, 26 dead in their church pews in Texas, 20 more injured, and 17 young people mowed down, 14 gravely wounded in Parkland—and that’s not all. What do these tragedies have in common?  Rapid-fire, high-capacity, M16-like battlefield-grade weapons.

“Stopping, slowing sales, increasing the age limit for purchase, can help reduce the chance of dangerous people getting these weapons. There’s a lot more to do, but the decisions of these private companies will go a long way toward a solution. This is the best of corporate behavior and Dick’s and Walmart deserve to be commended and rewarded with our business. There need to be more moral business leaders. Who will be the next to help us solve this monstrous problem?”

Rev. Rob Schenck, an ordained evangelical minister, is president of the Washington, DC-based Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute and is the subject of the Emmy Award winning documentary, The Armor of Light, which examines American evangelicals and popular gun culture. He explains why he changed his mind on gun ownership and use in his upcoming memoir, “Costly Grace: An Evangelical Minister’s Rediscovery of Faith, Hope and Love, to be released by HarperCollins June 5 and available now on pre-sale.