On Friday, Bloomberg reported that Dick’s Sporting Goods, the country’s largest sports retailer, lost $150 million in 2018 after the company decided to stop selling assault-style rifles and high-capacity magazines, a policy instituted after the February 2018 Parkland School massacre.
The shooter in the Parkland massacre had legally bought his shotgun from Dick’s; the day after his arrest, a teenager with a shotgun from Dick’s who schemed to target his high school was apprehended by Vermont police.
Those incidents prompted Dick’s CEO, Edward Stack, to declare in February 2018 on Good Morning America that his stores would no longer sell “assault-style weapons” and wouldn’t allow anyone under the age of 21 to buy a gun. Stack stated, “We looked at what happened and we were truly deeply moved and disturbed by those events. 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.”
As The Daily Wire reported, “The company also said it would end sales of ‘high capacity magazines’ but the CEO did not specifically define what constitutes a ‘high capacity magazine’ nor whether ‘assault weapon’ meant the AR-15 specifically or several different styles of semi-automatic rifles.”
Stack wrote a letter that outlined his suggestions for Congress, including banning assault-style firearms; raising the minimum age to purchase firearms to 21; banning high-capacity magazines and bump stocks; requiring universal background checks that include relevant mental health information and previous interactions with the law; ensuring a complete universal database of those banned from buying firearms, and closing the private sale and gun show loophole that waives the necessity of background checks.
In March 2018, Stack wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post in which he stated:
It is clear we have a problem with the gun laws in this country. They are not squarely focused on keeping all of us safe — especially our children. There continue to be mass shootings — at our schools, churches and entertainment venues. Following each of these senseless, tragic events there’s a great deal of idle, fruitless talk in the halls of Congress, and then the conversation quickly comes to an end.”
The Daily Wire reported at the time that numbers showed shares of Dick’s plunged as much as 7.3% in New York; same-store sales fell 2% in the period. In May 2018, The Daily Wire reported that Dick’s hired three lobbyists to push anti-gun legislation in Congress, noting, “According to The Federalist, which found the company’s LD-1 lobbying disclosure forms through the Senate, Dick’s Sporting Goods hired one Republican and two Democratic lobbyists from the Washington, D.C. firm, Glover Park Group. The lobbyists, all former Congressional legislative aides, list that they will be handling ‘lobbying related to gun control.’”
After the revelation of losing $150 million last year, Stack stated, “The system does not work. It’s important that when you know there’s something that’s not working, and it’s to the detriment of the public, you have to stand up.”
Stack has joined the business council of Everytown for Gun Safety, founded by Michael Bloomberg.