“But thoughts and prayers are not enough.” – Dick’s Sporting Goods

facage of a Dick's Sporting Goods store

Following the Parkland school shooting, in a media statement, Dick’s Sporting Goods (DKS) announced that, effective immediately, it would no longer sell assault-style rifles in its stores. In addition, it would cease selling high-capacity magazines and would no longer sell firearms to anyone under 21 years of age. After the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, the company stopped selling assault-style rifles at its Dicks Sporting Goods stores, but a few months later began to sell them out of their Field & Stream stores. This announcement ended the sale of assault-style rifles from any Dick’s store.
As it turns out, in 2017, a Dick’s Sporting Goods store in Florida legally sold a rifle to the Parkland shooter. And while it was not the gun, nor type of gun, that was used in the shooting, it could have been. Dick’s Chairman and CEO Edward Stack commented, “… it came to us that we could have been a part of this story. We said, ‘We don’t want to be a part of this any longer.’” The company went one step further in its announcement, “imploring” Washington lawmakers to pass commonsense gun regulations.
Stack said he was “deeply disturbed” by the Parkland shooting and that he was fully prepared for the backlash, which as of this afternoon was in full force on social media, with boycott threats from some customers. But the outrage was matched by those who expressed support for the company’s actions.
Since the Parkland shooting, consumers have threatened to boycott companies that support the NRA. A number of companies have cut ties with the NRA in response, including Delta and United Airlines, Hertz and Enterprise, Symantec, and MetLife. Other outdoor sporting goods sellers such as Midway USA, Bass Pro Shops, and Cabela’s stated their continued support of the NRA.
Pension funds and fund managers are also under pressure to sell off investments in gun makers. The top shareholders in AOBC and RGR are The Vanguard Group and BlackRock, Inc. But many funds say their hands are tied, as their funds are based upon indexes – and it is up to the companies that develop the indexes fund companies track to make the change.
Clean Yield’s longstanding policy is to screen out companies that derive any portion of revenues from the manufacture or sale of firearms for civilian use.
During an interview on “Good Morning America,” when asked if Dick’s might sell AR-15s in the future, Stack shook his head and said “never.”
This is big news. We believe this is another important indication that public opinion on gun control is changing quickly. It also highlights the leadership role that companies can play in addressing issues when lawmakers can’t or won’t.
Well done, Dick’s. Let’s see if we can get other retailers to stand with you.