Dick's Sporting Goods told customers last week that it would no longer sell assault rifles or high capacity magazines at its Field and Stream stores, joining a number of companies taking some sort of public stance in the wake of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. A former student with mental health issues killed seventeen people with an AR-15, and lawmakers and gun control activists have quickly demanded the firearm again be placed on a ban list.
While understanding that Dick's thinks it's doing the right thing, a South Carolina gun seller called Palmetto State Armory politely explained to Dick's that the term "assault rifle" does not mean what they think it means. They disagree with the company's decision to stop selling the gun. Their statement is below (bolded for emphasis).
Palmetto State Armory would like to go on record stating that we support the Second Amendment. While this may seem like an obvious statement, we as a company felt it necessary to make our opinion known to the general public. Palmetto State Armory also strongly supports the First Amendment which enables individuals to voice their opinions, even those in contrast with our own. We believe that a primary purpose of the Second Amendment is actually to protect the First Amendment.
In regards to the actions taken today by the CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods to no longer sell the AR-15 platform, while we do not agree with this decision, we recognize the fact that capitalism gives him the right to make this call. PSA however, does have an issue when misinformation is spread in the very next sentence by referring to the platform as an “assault rifle.” AR stands for Armalite Rifle which pays homage to the company that originally created the platform. To blame the rifle or a high capacity magazine for the actions of an evil man is illogical and is only applied when referring to firearms. Senseless acts of violence are a terrible plague on society that we all recognize we need to try and prevent as a community, but to blame a tool such as a firearm is at very best missing the point of the problem. When a vehicle is used to commit an act of violence we as a society do not blame the car, we do not blame the speed, or the steering wheel, but rather the driver. It is our hopes that we can approach this negativity with humanity and both sides of the argument can come together and have a civil and intellectual conversation that continues to make this amazing county better. We are all in this together, and we all want the same thing. Safety, happiness, and the “American Dream.” (NBC News2)
Other companies have tried to take a symbolic stand after the Parkland shooting by distancing themselves from the NRA. Delta and United Airlines told customers they would be ending their NRA discount programs. It turns out only 13 tickets had been sold in the Delta program.
“Our decision was not made for economic gain and our values are not for sale," according to Delta CEO Ed Bastian.