After the massacre in Parkland, Florida, Dick’s Sporting Goods announced that it would stop selling assault-style rifles. Now, in a move that should surprise nobody, the company has hired gun-control lobbyists.
The first decision might have been a principled one; the company’s leadership might have decided that it could no longer sell semi-automatic rifles in good conscience. The second decision, though, is a pluperfect example of self-dealing.
The calculation is obvious: Ending a particular product line will hurt Dick’s’ bottom line; it will lose market share, even if only marginally, to competitors. But if Dick’s can use the government to force its competitors to drop out of the semi-auto rifle market too, then it can insulate itself from the consequences of its own choice.
Exploiting the political system to gain economic advantage is a craven and scurrilous thing to do – a fact that does not keep it from happening on a regular basis, to be sure. Most of the time, though, companies try to camouflage their motives behind lofty-sounding principles like “fairness” or “environmental stewardship.” Dick’s’ maneuver is remarkably transparent. Which means the company is not only exploiting the political system for economic leverage, it is not even ashamed of doing so.
© © Copyright 2018, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Richmond, VA
Dick’s Sporting Goods loses firearms businesses after gun control push
Several major gun manufacturers said they were severing ties with Dick’s Sporting Goods in response to the company’s February announcement it would no longer sell assault-style weapons due to the deadly Parkland school shooting.
“It has come to our attention that Dick’s Sporting Goods recently hired lobbyists on Capitol Hill to promote additional gun control,” Mossberg & Sons CEO Iver Mossberg wrote in a press release. “Make no mistake, Mossberg is a staunch supporter of the U.S. Constitution and our Second Amendment rights, and we fully disagree with Dick’s Sporting Goods’ recent anti-Second Amendment actions.”
The Mossberg announcement came just one day after MKS Supply, which makes Hi-Point firearms, also announced it would pull out of Dick’s. Last week, gun manufacturer Springfield Armory said it was halting business with the sport’s supply company, too.
“We believe that refusing to sell long guns to adults under age 21, while many young adults in our military are not similarly restricted, is wrong. We believe that villainizing modern sporting rifles in response to pressure from uninformed, anti-gun voices is wrong,” MKS Supply president Charles Brown wrote a statement. “We believe that hiring lobbyists to oppose American citizens’ freedoms secured by the Second Amendment is wrong. Dick’s Sporting Goods and Field & Stream, in purportedly doing all of these things, have demonstrated that they do not share our values. [We’re] standing by the American people by refusing any further sales to Dick’s Sporting Goods & Field & Stream.”
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