mcloudy.png
Monday August 10th, 2020 6:02PM

Defying the NRA, Dick's takes a harder line against guns

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

NEW YORK (AP) — Dick's Sporting Goods will immediately stop selling assault-style rifles and ban the sale of all guns to anyone under 21, the company said Wednesday, as its CEO took on the National Rifle Association by demanding tougher gun laws after the massacre in Florida.

The strongly worded announcement from the nationwide store chain came as students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, returned to class for the first time since a teenager killed 17 students and educators with an AR-15 rifle two weeks ago.

"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," Chairman and CEO Ed Stack said on ABC's "Good Morning America."

The change in sales practices, and the emphatic words from Stack, put Dick's out front in the falling-out between corporate America and the gun lobby. Several major corporations, including MetLife, Hertz and Delta Air Lines, have cut ties with the NRA since the Florida tragedy, but until now, none were retailers that sold guns.

The announcement drew hundreds of thousands of responses for and against on the company's Facebook page.

Dick Sporting Goods had cut off sales of assault-style weapons after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. But sales had resumed at its smaller chain of Field & Stream stores, which consisted of 35 outlets in 16 states as of October.

On Wednesday, Stack said that would end, and he called on lawmakers to act now.

He urged them to ban assault-style firearms, bump stocks and high-capacity magazines and raise the minimum age to buy firearms to 21. He said universal background checks should be required, and there should be a complete database of those banned from buying firearms. He also called for the closing of the private sale and gun show loophole that enables purchasers to escape background checks.

"We support and respect the Second Amendment, and we recognize and appreciate that the vast majority of gun owners in this country are responsible, law-abiding citizens," Stack said in a letter. "But we have to help solve the problem that's in front of us. Gun violence is an epidemic that's taking the lives of too many people, including the brightest hope for the future of America — our kids."

The NRA has pushed back aggressively against calls for raising age limits for guns or restricting the sale of assault-style weapons. Calls to the NRA were not immediately returned.

Stack also revealed that Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old arrested in the Florida attack, had bought a shotgun at a Dick's store within the past four months.

"It was not the gun, nor type of gun, he used in the shooting," the CEO wrote. "But it could have been. Clearly this indicates on so many levels that the systems in place are not effective to protect our kids and our citizens."

The vast majority of Dick's business is selling sporting goods like basketballs and sneakers. Joseph Feldman, a senior managing director at the Telsey Advisory Group, estimated that guns and ammunition account for 8 percent of the company's sales.

Dick's, which had net sales of $7.92 billion in the fiscal year that ended in January 2017, has a much bigger stake in youth sports.

"The longer-term positive perception that they create a more welcoming environment will offset any lost sales in the year," Feldman said. He said other retailers that devote a small percentage of their business to hunting will probably follow suit.

Walmart Inc., also a big gun seller, had stopped selling AR-15s and other semi-automatic weapons in 2015, citing weak sales. Sporting goods chain Bass Pro Shops, which owns Cabela's, didn't respond to requests for comment. Nor did the Outdoor Retail Association or Gander Outdoors.

While guns can be bought from sporting goods stores or department stores, they can also be purchased online, at gun shows and from small local gun stores.

Dick's is based just outside of Pittsburgh in a state where the first day of deer hunting season is an unofficial holiday for many families. Stack said Dick's is prepared for any backlash but will never allow the sale of such guns in its stores again.

"This is the moment when business leaders across the country get to decide if they want to stand on the right side of history," said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Acton for Gun Sense in America. "Mothers make the majority of spending decisions for their families, and we want to shop with businesses that care about the safety of our families — making this a smart business move, too."

Pam Platt of Louisville, Kentucky, said she was thrilled to hear about Dick's move and called the store's customer service line to offer her praise. She said she told the representative who answered that she wanted her to "hear something good from somebody."

"She perked up," Platt added.

Platt said she now plans to start buying more at her local Dick's store, including a pair of sneakers this week.

"When I go to the store, I will let them know why I am here," she said. "I care about this issue."

But many others were unhappy with the company's move, some posting on the Dick's page that they would stop shopping at its stores.

"I was sad to hear they would pull them off and bow to these people that have no understanding of what a gun is," said Gerald Jaeger, outside a Dick's in Brookfield, Wisconsin.

Dick's stock price was little changed as of midafternoon Wednesday afternoon, up 1.7 percent.

___

AP Retail Writers Anne D'Innocenzio and Joseph Pisani contributed to this report. Associated Press reporter Carrie Antlfinger contributed from Brookfield, Wisconsin.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Business, AP Business - Corporate News
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
In public spat, Trump taunts Sessions, AG doesn't keep quiet
President Donald Trump is renewing his verbal attacks on his attorney general, and Jeff Sessions isn't taking the criticism silently.
2:55PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Defying the NRA, Dick's takes a harder line against guns
Dick's Sporting Goods cuts off sales of assault-style rifles at its stores following Florida school shooting
2:53PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Police: Georgia teacher fires gun in classroom; no one hurt
Police say a teacher who fired a gun inside a Georgia classroom taught social studies and was the play-by-play announcer for the high school's football team
2:50PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Worshippers clutching AR-15 rifles hold commitment ceremony
Worshippers clutching AR-15 rifles drink holy wine and repeat wedding vows in a commitment ceremony at a Pennsylvania-based church
2:32PM ( 34 minutes ago )
Police: Georgia teacher fired gun in classroom; no one hurt
Police in Georgia say a teacher apparently fired a gun inside a classroom and barricaded himself there for about 30 minutes before he was taken into custody
2:31PM ( 34 minutes ago )
Ex-Trump campaign chief rebuked by judge for public comments
A federal judge has reprimanded President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman for speaking publicly in violation of her gag order in his criminal case
2:29PM ( 37 minutes ago )
AP National News
Trump calls Sessions' handling of Russia probe 'disgraceful'
President Donald Trump is continuing to lash out at Attorney General Jeff Sessions as he argues for investigation into the Russian election probe
1:31PM ( 1 hour ago )
Immigration chief: 800 avoided arrest due to mayor's warning
A federal immigration official says about 800 people living in Northern California were able to avoid arrest thanks to a warning by Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.
1:26PM ( 1 hour ago )
Graham praised by Trump, politicians as 'America's pastor'
The Rev. Billy Graham is getting a rare salute by the nation's political leaders under the Capitol Rotunda in Washington
1:23PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online National News
Ethiopian Jews threaten mass hunger strike over Israel move
Ethiopian Jews threaten mass hunger strike if Israel cuts funding to immigrate, join families
2:31PM ( 34 minutes ago )
Egypt's chief prosecutor wants close monitoring of the media
Ahead of presidential vote, Egypt's chief prosecutor orders close monitoring of the media, legal steps against violators
1:54PM ( 1 hour ago )
S&P 500 index heads for its worst month in 2 years
Stocks gave up an early gain and were listless in midday trading, keeping the Standard & Poor's 500 on track to break a 15-month winning streak
1:53PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
In public spat, Trump taunts Sessions, AG doesn't keep quiet
President Donald Trump is renewing his verbal attacks on his attorney general, and Jeff Sessions isn't taking the criticism silently.
2:55PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Police: Georgia teacher fires gun in classroom; no one hurt
Police say a teacher who fired a gun inside a Georgia classroom taught social studies and was the play-by-play announcer for the high school's football team
2:50PM ( 15 minutes ago )
UK police arrest 3 men over blast that killed 5 people
British police say they have arrested three men in connection with an explosion over the weekend in the English city of Leicester that killed five people
2:49PM ( 17 minutes ago )
McCain's daughter says Trump's reference to dad was hurtful
Meghan McCain says that President Trump's reference at a conservative conference last week to her father's vote on a health care bill was 'incredibly hurtful.'
2:47PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Slain Slovak journalist worked on story of links to mafia
An investigative journalist shot dead in Slovakia last week was working on a story about the activities of Italian mafia in his country and their links to people close to Prime Minister Robert Fico
2:47PM ( 19 minutes ago )