Social media has erupted with promises from countless gun owners to boycott Dick’s Sporting Goods and its subsidiary, Field & Stream stores, following the chain store’s announcement that it would no longer be selling “assault-style” rifles or original capacity magazines.
The national chain also said it will not sell firearms to anyone under age 21, according to the Associated Press and other news agencies.
In reaction, the National Shooting Sports Foundation – the industry trade association – issued the following statement:
“We respect the right of all companies to make the decisions they believe are appropriate for their business. Nonetheless, we are disappointed by the decision of Dick’s Sporting Goods to stop selling modern sporting rifles at its 35 Field & Stream stores, to cease sales of certain magazines and to raise the purchase age to 21 for all firearms at all its stores. We note that the Dick’s Sporting Goods announcement acknowledges the vast majority of gun owners are responsible and law-abiding. Indeed, they are and should not be penalized for the actions of criminals.
“Members of our industry believe that unauthorized individuals should never have access to any firearm, of any kind, at any time. On behalf of our industry, NSSF supports effective solutions to achieve that goal, which is shared by all Americans. NSSF strongly supports and calls upon Congress to immediately pass the Fix NICS bill – named after our program of the same name – to increase the reporting of all disqualifying criminal and applicable mental health records to the FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database to increase the effectiveness of the system on which our nation’s retailers depend. We will continue our work on that vitally important initiative, as well our other programs that work every day to help enhance public safety, including Project ChildSafe, the Don’t Lie for the Other Guy anti-straw purchasing program and Operation Secure Store programs that we conduct in cooperation with Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).”
Dick’s CEO Ed Stack told ABC’s “Good Morning America” program that “When we saw what the kids were going through and the grief of the parents and the kids who were killed in Parkland, we felt we needed to do something.”
But that “something” now has many Second Amendment activists fuming. Some are promising never to spend another penny with the store, others are predicting the store will weather any backlash, and a few even predict that the chain may have serious financial trouble.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Stack said the company “is prepared for any potential backlash.”
There certainly appears to be some of that.
It’s not the first time the chain has made an announcement about semi-auto sporting rifles that riled gun owners. Following the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, Dick’s announced it was suspending sales of the rifles, but in 2013, their subsidiary Field & Stream was selling guns.
There has been a non-stop media eruption since the Florida tragedy, with various reporters trying for relevant stories. In some cases, as noted by CFL’s Joe Newby, the efforts have (no pun intended) backfired.
The gun prohibition lobby has also exploited the high school shooting. Anti-gun groups drew criticism from National Rifle Association Wayne LaPierre during last week’s Political Action Conference in Maryland. But while many in the media have been focusing on the NRA, a majority of Americans think the blame is on Florida and federal law enforcement.