Dick’s Sporting Goods, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: DKS), has announced that it will halt sales of so-called “assault-style rifles” and no longer sell firearms to anyone under age 21, and now the question: Will the nationwide chain face a backlash from gun owners?
The announcement is the chain’s reaction to the Valentine’s Day mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Quoted by Fox Business, Dick’s CEO Ed Stack told ABC, “As we looked to what happened down in Parkland [Florida], we were so disturbed and saddened by what happened we felt we really needed to do something.”
But for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. It waits to be seen whether the Second Amendment community will provide that reaction by simply shopping somewhere else.
It was also disclosed that the accused Parkland suspect had actually purchased a firearm from a Dick’s store. It was not the gun used at the school, but it was purchased legally.
The specific firearm purchased by the suspect was a shotgun.
The announcement comes on the same day that students are returning to the high school, two weeks since the shooting left 17 students and adults dead. The attack re-ignited the national argument over gun control, which many in the media are misreporting as “gun reform” or “gun safety legislation.” In Washington State, for example, the legislature voted to ban “bump stocks,” which were used by the mass shooter in Las Vegas last year; the only time that the accessory devices have apparently been identified as connected with a deadly crime. It is not known how many such devices are owned by Evergreen State shooters, or whether they will pursue legal action if Gov. Jay Inslee signs the measure, as expected.
It’s not the first time Dick’s has reacted to a mass shooting. Following the Sandy Hook attack in 2012, the sporting goods chain suspended sales of modern sporting rifles, as noted by Fox Business.
The story is making headlines across the country. The New York Times added that Dick’s will no longer sell “high-capacity magazines” – the kind of magazine that typically comes with a modern sporting rifle as standard equipment.
Dick’s joins several other firms that have taken action in the wake of the school shooting. Several companies announced they are dropping discount programs aimed at National Rifle Association members, as though the NRA were somehow responsible for the school attack.
The company is also reportedly doing something else that may have business consequences. According to Fox Business, “The company will also call on lawmakers to ‘enact common sense gun reform’ and pass regulations to ban assault-style firearms, raise the minimum wage to purchase firearms to 21, ban high-capacity magazines, require universal background checks that include relevant mental health information and previous interactions with the law.”
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Stack said the company “is prepared for any potential backlash.”