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People mostly support Dick’s Sporting Goods rifle ban, Twitter analysis says

People mostly support Dick’s Sporting Goods rifle ban, Twitter analysis says
[Photo: Staff Sgt. Nathan Gallahan/U.S. Air Force]

Yesterday, one of the country’s top gun retailers, Dick’s Sporting Goods, said it would stop selling assault-style rifles and raise the age restriction on gun sales to 21. The decision—made in the wake of the deadly mass shooting in Parkland, Florida—sparked a massive response on social media, with Dick’s Sporting Goods trending throughout much of the day on Twitter.

While conventional wisdom suggests the retailer may risk alienating some of its customers by wading into a polarizing political debate, an analysis of those tweets shows the overwhelming majority were in favor of the move, according to new data from Sprout Social, a “social listening” firm. Sprout Social analyzed almost 343,000 tweets that included the @DICKS Twitter handle yesterday and found that 79% showed a positive sentiment.

“This data demonstrates the majorly positive reaction the retailer’s decision has resulted in, as captured by the feedback of the public on Twitter,” a rep for the firm told me in an email.

A one-day Twitter analysis is hardly the last word on consumer sentiment, but the data is in line with recent polls, including one CNN poll showing that 70% of Americans support stricter gun laws.

Overall, tweets mentioning Dick’s Sporting Goods jumped more than 12,000% from its average daily number of 278 between February 18-27, Sprout Social said.

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