He added, "We will take a stand and stand up and tell people our point of view and, hopefully, bring people into the conversation."
The decision resulted in immediate – and passionate – responses to social media. By noon, the number of Twitter messages containing the company's name had increased by 12,000 percent from the average of the last 10 days, according to Sprout Social, a social media management, advocacy and analysis software platform.
About 79 percent of the tweets "We have a positive mood," said Sprout Social, adding supportive messages from Hollywood actors.
But the company's critics published their plans to stop shopping at the retailer, and some closed their tweets with "#boycott."
Investors did not seem to care about a backlash as Dicks shares traded much higher on Wednesday, 1.8 percent higher.
Dicks hopes to shift the conversation beyond social media into the political realm. As part of its stance, the company calls on elected representatives to adopt the so-called "Common Sense Gun Reform": raising the minimum age for purchasing weapons to 21, banning offensive weapons and so-called bump sticks and broader background checks, include mental health information and previous interactions with law enforcement agencies.
This is not the first time Dicks has made changes in response to a school massacre. In 2012, after a sniper killed 26 people at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, Dicks removed rifle-made rifles from his main stores. But a few months later, the company began carrying firearms at its outdoor and hunting retail chain, Field & Stream.