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Episcopal Church, Catholic nuns advocated for Dick's gun policy

Stephen Huba
| Monday, March 5, 2018, 3:36 p.m.
Dick's Sporting Goods at the Westmoreland Mall in Hempfield Township on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Dick's Sporting Goods at the Westmoreland Mall in Hempfield Township on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018.
Field & Stream store in Cranberry on Feb. 28, 2018. Field & Stream is a subsidiary of Dick’s Sporting Goods.
Ben Schmitt | Tribune-Review
Field & Stream store in Cranberry on Feb. 28, 2018. Field & Stream is a subsidiary of Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Faith-based shareholder activism is being at least partly credited for Dick's Sporting Goods' decision last week to stop stocking "assault-style" rifles at Field & Stream stores.

The Episcopal Church and five Roman Catholic religious orders filed a shareholder resolution in January calling on Dick's to, among other things, abide by the Sandy Hook Principles, Episcopal News Service reported.

The principles outline rules that gun retailers can impose on themselves to end the sale of guns to minors, people with mental illness and people with criminal backgrounds.

Dick's stopped selling assault rifles after the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre. The Coraopolis-based company's recent decision applies to its 35 Field & Stream stores.

Although the Episcopal Church owns stock in Dick's, it does not purchase stock for the sole purpose of engaging in shareholder action, according to ENS.

The church decided to join the Sisters of Mercy and four other religious orders in filing a shareholder resolution in January. They were assisted by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility , which helps religious organizations pool their shareholder power, the ENS said.

Previously, the Sisters of Mercy had to tried influence Dick's by writing to CEO Edward W. Stack through Mercy Investment Services Inc. , their asset management program.

Dick's did not respond to the 2017 letter, prompting the shareholder action, the ENS said. The resolution has since been withdrawn.

On Feb. 28, the same day as the Dick's announcement, the Episcopal Church issued an "action alert" calling on parishioners to call their congressmen and ask for an "assault weapons ban."

Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-1280, shuba@tribweb.com or via Twitter @shuba_trib.

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