Hard Times for Dick's as Second Amendment Supporters Respond to Company's Anti-Gun Bent

From: Gene Poole ([email protected])

We have recently been reporting on the bizarre anti-gun activism
of one of the nation’s larger firearm retailers, Dick’s Sporting
Goods and its affiliated Field & Stream stores. First, the
company announced it would stop selling most centerfire semi-
automatic rifles at its stores, carry only limited capacity
magazines for semi-automatic guns, and ban firearm sales to
certain legally eligible adults. It then took the further step
of declaring it would destroy its inventory of the newly-
restricted firearms at company expense. And if that weren’t
enough, the news also recently broke that the company had hired
expensive D.C. lobbyists to push for gun control measures on
Capitol Hill.

Dick’s, in other words, was positioning itself as a rising star
in the field of corporate gun control activism, in obvious
contradiction of its own financial interests.

Now, however, the pro-gun community is parrying Dick’s gun
control thrust with their own countermeasures, while customers
appear to be eschewing Dick’s to search for bargains elsewhere.

Last week, the Board of Governors of the National Shooting
Sports Foundation (NSSF) – the trade association for the
firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industries –
voted unanimously to expel Dick’s Sporting Goods from membership
in the organization. While the NSSF noted it supports the rights
of its members to make individual business decisions, it
determined that Dick’s new polices do not “reflect the reality
of the vast majority of law-abiding gun owners” and constitute
“conduct detrimental to the best interests of the Foundation.”
Law-abiding gun owners, the company added, “should not be
penalized for the actions of criminals.”

Meanwhile, members of the firearms industry have also begun
withdrawing their products from Dick’s and Field & Stream

First, Illinois-based Springfield Armory – maker of several
lines of highly-popular rifles and pistols -- announced early
this month that was “severing ties” with the two retailers. In
announcing the decision, Springfield Armory stated, “we believe
in the rights and principles fought for and secured by American
patriots and our founding forefathers, without question.” It
concluded, “We will not accept Dick’s Sporting Goods’ continued
attempts to deny Second Amendment freedoms to our fellow

Iconic shotgun maker O.F. Mossberg & Sons followed up this week
with its own announcement that it will “not accept any future
orders from Dick’s Sporting Goods or Field & Stream” and is “in
the process of evaluating current contractual agreements.”
Mossberg’s press release on the decision cited its own “staunch
support[] of the U.S. Constitution and our Second Amendment
right” and its disagreement with “Dick’s Sporting Goods’ recent
anti-Second Amendment actions.”

MKS Supply, marketer of Hi-Point Firearms and Inland
Manufacturing, LLC, has now become the latest supplier to cut
off Dick’s and Field & Stream. Its president, Charles Brown,
justified the decision on the basis that “Dick’s Sporting Goods
and its subsidiary, Field & Stream, have shown themselves, in
our opinion, to be no friend of Americans’ Second Amendment.” He
went on to cite several “wrong” moves by Dick’s in recent
months, including “villainizing modern sporting rifles in
response to pressure from uninformed, anti-gun voices” and
“hiring lobbyists to oppose American citizens’ freedoms secured
by the Second Amendment.”

This industry pressure on Dick’s comes at a sensitive time for
the company. Its shares took a steep 6.3% dive in March, amid
what analysts described as a “downbeat outlook.” Indeed, its own
CEO Edward Stack admitted his new investment in gun control “is
not going to be positive from a traffic standpoint and a sales

How that assessment squares with his own obligations to the
company and its shareholders is unclear. Profits, after all, are
where the rubber meets the road in any business enterprise.

What is becoming increasingly clear, however, is that Dick’s has
inserted itself into a tight spot from which it might not emerge
unscathed, if it manages to survive at all. Its business with
Second Amendment supporters in particular may well grind to a

Should that happen, Dick’s will have no one to blame but itself,
and especially Mr. Stack. Dick’s example should serve as a
warning for other businesses in the firearm sector that would
hope to find common cause with activists who are seeking nothing
so much as to put gun sellers out of business for good.


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