Dick’s Rising Stock Value Shows That Dropping Guns Benefits Business

In the wake of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting, major retailers faced increased pressure to drop the sales of assault weapons, bump stocks, high-capacity magazines and other equipment used in mass shootings. Some, including Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods, heeded the call — and now, quarterly reports are in, demonstrating the impact of the business decision on the company’s stock value.

Bad news for those who say that selling guns is a vital part of the sporting goods business model: Dick’s stock went up.

At a time of extreme political polarization and a mounting number of terrible mass shootings, it’s worth noting that gun owners and non-gun owners actually agree on a lot of policy issues. The business decisions made at Dick’s reflect much of this common ground — starting with the fact that the store won’t sell to people under 21, even if local and state laws permit gun sales to younger people.

The company also decided to stop carrying high capacity magazines and assault-style weapons, taking note of the fact that this equipment can make shootings much more deadly. Customers can still buy a range of firearms at Dick’s as long as they’re over 21, but the company cut out some of the worst of the worst.

Some argue that these kinds of policy moves can alienate customers, which is why it’s a big deal to see Dick’s stock going up right now — though of course, the change in gun sales isn’t the only reason why.

This news is a slap in the face for the NRA, which has criticized Dick’s for its stance on gun control and sales. The gun lobbying association clings hard to an interpretation of the Second Amendment that defends effectively unlimited access to firearms of all shapes and sizes — even though many gun owners, including some of its own members, don’t have values in alignment with the stated NRA platform.

The organization may be looking out for the interests of the small minority who own most of American guns, the so-called “super owners,” but critics argue the NRA needs to evolve with the times.

It’s important to be aware that there are 56,000 gun retailers across the United States, and the vast majority of those are independent stores, not chains. These stores are making individual judgment calls about what they want to sell and to whom.

Around 12 percent of assault-style rifles, also called “modern sporting rifles,” are sold via chains like Dick’s, which do a brisker business in traditional hunting rifles — as in, the kinds hunters actually use — and other gear used in outdoor sports.

Individual choices made by companies selling firearms can have an outsized impact when they’re large chains with recognizable names. But such policies can be slippery — a store may sell guns online but not in stores or vice versa. Many also use a very narrow definition of “assault-style rifle,” a term that doesn’t actually have a specific industry meaning.

And, of course, someone who can’t access a gun at a specific store or in a specific state can always seek another seller elsewhere who will meet their needs — a problem that won’t be resolved without wide-scale federal gun laws that limit access across the county.

For now, the Dick’s news proves that there’s money in giving up on sales of the most controversial firearms in America, and that’s something to use for leverage with other companies that are continuing to sell them.

Photo credit: Dick Clark

33 comments

David C
David C6 days ago

thanks and don't pay attention to David F, trump is an embarrassment to our country.....and world....and a huge danger to civil rights

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Winn A
Winnie Adams7 days ago

Noted

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Danuta W
Danuta W7 days ago

Thanks for this post

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David F
David F7 days ago

Thank President Trump, everyone's stock is going up. and record tax revenues are flowing into our Governments.

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Shirley S
Shirley S8 days ago

A good move by Dick's that will be appreciated by people with young families.

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Anne M
Anne M8 days ago

Can't go wrong with Dick's...

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Alea C
Alea C8 days ago

This is great news!

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Loredana V
Loredana V8 days ago

Whenever firearm are concerned, remove the word "sport"

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Cathy B
Cathy B8 days ago

Thank you.

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Bill E
Bill Eagle8 days ago

Dicks Sporting Goods has done the right thing and it's customers realize it. We appreciate responsible businesses.

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