On Wednesday morning, Dick’s Sporting Goods launched an intensive public relations campaign to push for gun control. This decision has been met with widespread applause from liberal pundits, but a growing number of gun owners and customers of the hunting and sporting goods chain are expressing their own opinions as well.
CEO Edward Stack made his firm’s opening move by issuing a press release on Dick’s official website announcing the company’s commitment to pushing for a long list of highly restrictive gun control policies in Congress. Among these are:
1) Banning “assault-style firearms”
2) Raising the minimum age on firearm purchases to 21
3) Banning “high-capacity magazines”
4) Banning bump stocks
5) Requiring universal background checks with “relevant mental health information” and police records for gun purchases
6) “Ensuring” a “complete universal database” of people “banned from buying firearms”
7) Closing the “private sale and gun show loophole that waives the necessity of background checks”
Dick’s Sporting Goods stores will immediately begin enforcing these rules on themselves as applicable.
It’s worth pointing out here that Dick’s proposal to close the “gun show loophole” is probably a repeat of the long-debunked claim that 40% of Americans purchase their guns without background checks either through private sales or at gun shows. The Washington Post’s fact checkers have had to shoot this insidious bit of misinformation down on several occasions, including earlier this month when Sen. Bernie Sanders uncritically used the fake fact to support more restrictive gun control legislation.
After Stack appeared on a couple of morning shows and Dick’s official accounts on Twitter and Facebook promoted their pro-gun control message, social media users began to call for boycotting the company.
On Facebook, many users wrote messages directly in response to Dick's press release saying that the chain had lost their business. One man wrote: "You just lost this regular customer, Dicks. Looks like you all are finally living up to your name. Bass Pro and Cabellas [sic] for me from now, on, unless they decide to drink from the stupid Kool Aid, too."
Others expressed similar sentiments, noting that other large retailers that don't impose gun control measures on themselves would be getting more business from now on:
"You just lost my family as customers. Between Dick's and Field and Stream stores in Erie, Pa we spend thousands every year. I guess it's Cabela's in Buffalo and Erie Sport store from now on."
"You just lost a customer. Actually 4. My family will not shop at your stores anymore. Not even for clothes."
"Well that's fine will not do anymore business with Dicks. Will not support anyone that doesn't support the 2nd amendment."
"I used to brag about your selections and pricing. I used to tell everyone I knew to visit your stores. Such a shame. You’ve lost me as a customer."
"Plenty of other stores that will sell to me and others. I will no longer shop at dicks or field and stream store. Be ready bass pro, I will see you soon!"
"Thank you for giving me another reason to take my business elsewhere.... you will be another Sports Authority and closing your doors before long....."
On Twitter, conservatives and pro-Second Amendment users who haven't been banned yet for being Russian bots are pushing for a complete boycott on Dick's Sporting Goods:
At the time of writing, Dick's stock has gone up a small amount over the first half of the day (roughly 1.5 percent with a 50 cent increase), but longer term revenues could suffer depending on the extent of public pushback.