The media headlines praised Dick’s Sporting Goods, whose CEO, Edward Stack, issued a statement condemning gun violence and pledged to support “common sense” gun control reform. The CEO is the son of the company’s founder and has held the CEO position for 34 years.
The company issued a statement that extended condolences to the affected families and friends of the Parkland, Florida mass shooting, then added, “But thoughts and prayers are not enough.”
The statement praised the pro-gun-control student marches and protests, acknowledging the importance of the Second Amendment and how “the vast majority of gun owners in this country are responsible, law-abiding citizens.”
The company banned 35 of its Field and Stream stores, a subsidiary store chain for the company, from selling AR-15 rifles to buyers under the age of 21 and several other policies:
- We will no longer sell assault-style rifles, also referred to as modern sporting rifles. We had already removed them from all DICK’S stores after the Sandy Hook massacre, but we will now remove them from sale at all 35 Field & Stream stores.
- We will no longer sell firearms to anyone under 21 years of age.
- We will no longer sell high capacity magazines.
- We never have and never will sell bump stocks that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire more rapidly.
CNN, New York Times and the Washington Post admitted that despite this statement, the company only sold the AR-15 rifle at a small amount of its subsidiary stores, which is a small fraction of the company’s total store locations (over 400 store locations in the U.S.). The outlets also pointed out that it is unclear what percentage of gun sales are the AR-15 rifle, which information was not released by Dick’s Sporting Goods.
Media attention created the perception that this is a monumental move, when the reality of the company’s impact is debatable, at best.