Dick’s Sporting Goods has gone out of their way to make shooting survivor David Hogg happy, even going so far as to destroy firearms. In the aftermath of this decision, one of the company’s most prominent shareholders destroyed something of theirs.
After the February 14th shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Dick’s caved to pressure from the David Hogg and the gun-ban community by enacting a number of anti-gun policies at both Dick’s Sporting Goods and Field & Stream stores. The most egregious of these new policies was the refusal to recognize the Second Amendment rights of adults aged 18-20 by refusing to sell them firearms.
Dick’s then doubled down by announcing it would not just remove certain types of semi-automatic rifles from store shelves, but that the retailer would actually destroy its entire stock of these commonly-owned firearms, along with their accessories. Dick’s decision to stop selling certain configurations of semi-automatic firearms was irrational, but the decision to actually destroy these lawful firearms was totally unjustifiable; long-guns of any description are rarely used in a crime.
Dick’s Sporting Goods took their campaign to alienate law-abiding gun owners to an extraordinary new level last week. The beleaguered retailer announced that in addition to removing certain types of semi-automatic rifles from their stores, the company will destroy its stock of these commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms along with any accessories for the guns.
Back on February 28, Dick’s CEO Ed Stack issued a letter in which he announced that his company had caved to the demands of anti-gun extremists and adopted a raft of self-imposed gun controls. Stack made clear that the company would discriminate against young adults by refusing to sell rifles and shotguns to those ages 18 to 20 and would no longer sell commonly-owned semi-automatic rifles and standard-capacity magazines. [Source: NRA]
Dick’s CEO Ed Stack is now back in the news because he just got his butt handed to him by a prominent conservative at Dick’s annual shareholder meeting. According to The Daily Caller, an investor confronted the CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods on Wednesday at the annual shareholders meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, blasting the retailer’s recent anti-gun advocacy.
David Almasi, a vice president at the National Center for Public Policy Research, attended the meeting representing the think tank’s Free Enterprise Project. Almasi accused Stack of violating fiduciary duties by knowingly and purposely giving up money.
“[Dick’s] has damaged its reputation by lending its voice and its resources to those who want to abolish the Second Amendment,” Almasi told Stack. “30 percent of American adults own guns, and another 11 percent live with someone who does. You’ve now alienated them.”
A conservative shareholder pressed Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO Edward Stack over the retailer’s decision to tighten rules for gun purchases in its stores.
David Almasi, vice president of the National Center for Public Policy Research, questioned whether the company was “willfully giving up money” with its new policies, he said in remarks during Dick’s annual shareholder meeting. Almasi attending the meeting representing the conservative think-tank’s Free Enterprise Project, which focuses on free-market investor activism.
Dick’s “has damaged its reputation by lending its voice and its resources to those who want to abolish the Second Amendment, even while the vast majority of Americans support the Second Amendment,” Almasi argued. “Thirty percent of American adults own guns, and another 11% live with someone who does. You’ve now alienated them.” [Source: Fox Business]
Almasi identified multiple statements Stack has made acknowledging that Dick’s anti-gun policies have hurt business. “Sales are so anemic and relations with gun manufacturers such as Mossberg so poor right now that you’ve even indicated Dick’s might get out the gun business entirely,” Almasi explained.
“Meanwhile, Sportsman’s Warehouse reports that their gun sales and net sales were up 15 percent during the first quarter. That company credits consumer backlash against companies such as Dick’s as partially responsible for its success,” he added.
Stack responded by doubling down on the decision, saying, “We will not be changing our position.” He said, “We did not alienate every gun owner. We did alienate some gun owners. We had a number of people who are gun owners, myself included, who sent us notes saying that, ‘We applaud what you did.’ We think this was in the best interest of our shareholders, long-term. Did we alienate some customers? Yes, we did. We felt it was the best decision for the long-term aspect of our shareholders.”
Almasi is absolutely right — Dick’s has chosen to put a misguided agenda before the company’s bottom line, and shareholders have every right to be furious. With Stack’s refusal to back down, it may be time for these shareholders to exercise the power of the purse and pull their holdings. We have seen just how far Dick’s is willing to go — if they will literally destroy firearms that aren’t even likely to be used in a crime in the first place, what won’t they do?
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