For Second Amendment supporters, Dick’s Sporting Goods, the Pennsylvania-based retailer, went over to the dark side with the announcement it would no longer sell so-called “assault-style” rifles, high-capacity magazines or any rifles to anyone under 21 years of age following the Feb. 14 shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school.
It was at one of its 610 stores, Nikolas Cruz, 19, legally purchased one of his guns, although the weapon was not used when he killed 17 at the school.
“We’re staunch supporters of the Second Amendment – I’m a gun owner myself,” company CEO Ed Stack said on “Good Morning America.” “We don’t want to be a part of this story, and we have eliminated these guns permanently.”
Stack’s claim of “staunch” support for the Constitution’s right to keep and bear arms, already under fire, has taken another dive following a new report in the Federalist revealing Dick’s has terminated its relationship with CSA Strategies LLC, a Republican-linked lobbying firm, and hired three lobbyists – two Democrats and one Republican – from the Glover Park Group to lobby for gun control.
The three lobbyists who began their work April 27 are listed by name in federal disclosure forms, as required by the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, noted the Federalist. They are Joel Johnson, who worked for both President Bill Clinton and Senate Democrat leadership; Andrew King, who worked for Sen. Lindsey Graham R-S.C.; and Christina Brown, a former staffer for Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa.
Glover Park’s disclosure form lists only “lobbying related to gun control” as the work it was hired to do. Previously, CSA Strategies focused on tax reform, cyber security and patent-litigation reform on behalf of Dick’s.
This latest move has sparked speculation Dick’s is responding to a drop in business following its restrictions announced in February by trying to hamstring competitors who have benefited by its exit from the market:
What’s the play here?
If Dick’s won’t sell guns, none of its competitors will be allowed to either? https://t.co/4EpUnEo149
— Lee Doren (@LDoren) May 2, 2018
Dick’s suffered a steep downturn in sales following the new gun policy, although Fortune said gun sales were not responsible for the biggest drop in stock prices in four months, noting problems with overstocking, high discounts and increased competition.
But it was CEO Stack himself who warned investors to expect negative blowback from the new policy.
“There’s going to be some pushback and we expected that,” he said, in an earnings call with Wall Street analysts, according to CNN. “There are going to be the people who don’t shop us anymore for anything.”
If Dick’s lobbyists are successful, those same people will be unable to shop for their preferred now-legal firearms with the company’s competitors as well.
This is not the first time Dick’s has made what could be termed a “politically correct” decision on semi-automatic rifles. In 2012, following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Dick’s announced it would no longer sell AR-15 sporting rifles, but rescinded the policy a few months later, reintroducing the polular firearm at its Field & Stream stores. The most recent ban is said to be permanent.
The company has gone so far as to announce it will destroy, rather than return to the manufacturer, any of the unsold rifles still in its inventory.
WND reported Dick’s made Focus on the Family’s 2007 “ugly” list of retailers guilty of “censoring Christmas.” Other “ugly” retailers that went the most “out of the way” to replace “Christmas” with “Holiday” on their websites included K-mart, Nordstrom, The Gap, Circuit City and Eddie Bauer.