Dick's Sporting Goods skirts Newtown gun promise

The chain vowed to stop selling rifles like the AR-15 after the killings. That apparently doesn't apply to its new chain.

By Jason Notte Aug 21, 2013 2:34PM
Field and Stream shop (© Field and Stream via Facebook)Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS) is apparently over the shock of the Newtown, Conn., elementary school shootings that killed 20 students and six adults.

The retailer is opening a new subsidiary chain of stores, Field & Stream, to challenge big outdoor retailers such as Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's. To celebrate, Dick's sidestepped the vow it made to stop selling "modern sporting rifles" -- the industry term for military-style semiautomatic arms like the AR-15 that Newtown killer Adam Lanza used. Instead, it's stocking its new shops with a bevy of AR-15s and other similar weapons, according to The Firearm Blog.

The Huffington Post confirmed that AR-15s and modular rifles are available for purchase at the new Field & Stream store in Cranberry Township, Pa., though Dick's spokespeople say the company is still halting sales of those weapons at its 511 Dick's-branded stores nationwide.

In other words, Dick's is technically holding to the promise it made in the statement it released after the Newtown shootings:

"Out of respect for the victims and their families, during this time of national mourning we have removed all guns from sale and from display in our store nearest to Newtown and suspended the sale of modern sporting rifles in all of our stores chainwide."

In defense of Dick's, a publicly traded business is still a business, after all, and the firearms business is booming. Though current gun owners still make up the vast majority of sales, the demographic makeup of multiple-gun owners has expanded since the Newtown massacre and the deadly shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., last summer.

Yet recent revelations by rival Cabela's suggest that while gun sales are still healthy, the boom is just about over. Background checks are still near record levels, but they're steadily decreasing after a federal gun bill died in the Senate and the nation's memory of recent shootings faded.

Admittedly, it's tough to open an outdoor sporting goods chain and not carry one of your biggest competitors' most popular items. With that in mind, even as Newtown's own citizens have mixed reactions to the killings in their town, finding loopholes around a promise to customers isn't exactly a strong business plan. If a company wants to sell AR-15 rifles, it should just say so.

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Aug 21, 2013 4:10PM

I only shop at sporting goods stores that support the second amendment and offer firearms, reloading equipment, and other gun related equipment.


As well it should be.  The person responsible is dead.  Why must everyone else be punished?
Aug 21, 2013 3:23PM
Dicks should've never knuckled under to the anti-gun fascisim that ran rampant after Newtown in the first place.  Dicks also screwed over a bunch of AR buyers in the process and they'll never get any repeat business from those folks again.  Dicks is over priced and I'm sure F&S will be the same.  I doubt I'll ever set foot in a F&S anyway as I prefer to get my stolen full auto machineguns at gun shows (just kidding anti-gun libs).
Aug 21, 2013 4:59PM
To hell with Newtown. They should not be dictating to the rest of the country what guns we can or cannot own. I personally enjoy every shot I fire from my AK-47's, AR-15's and other guns I own. We must never ever bow down to the liberal agenda and turn our country into Chicago....one giant shore to shore crime scene. That is all we will be if liberals get their way and we trade our freedom for their false promise of security. 
Aug 21, 2013 6:00PM
yeah stop selling guns to honest people who collect guns or target shoot just let the crooks have them so innocent people can get killed good idea America just like letting Obama be president
Aug 21, 2013 9:58PM
So, Dick's "sidestepped its vow to stop selling modern style rifles"?  How does that compare to our President and elected officials constantly sidestepping their vow to uphold the constitution? 
Aug 21, 2013 7:32PM
The AR15 was in the trunk of the car. The shooter used handguns to commit the crime. But the Obummer propaganda machine pushed the AR15 lie. Totally overlooked was the fact that the perps mom had taught him to use firearms, knowing that he was a nutcase. Don't blame the weapons. Guns never killed anyone on their own. And it is a fact that with gun sales up, violent crime has declined!
Aug 21, 2013 7:15PM

they said they would "suspend" sales, they never said it was to be permanent.

Aug 21, 2013 4:07PM

I thought Lanza did not use the AR-15, or am I wrong ?


I saw the grand opening........traffic backed up for miles here..........

Aug 21, 2013 8:23PM

Madmen should not dictate politics or affect what businesses sell.

Aug 21, 2013 9:46PM
What's wrong with guns...??  Hasn't anybody realized yet, that it is the shooter ??
Aug 21, 2013 7:31PM
Who cares?  If you don't want one, don't buy one. Field and Stream may be in the same holding group as Dick's,,,,, but is not a Dick's store per say. Dick's are a great sporting goods store.... it  is  a shame to see them knuckle under to the politically correct gun grabbers. This lack on intestinal fortitude will hurt their business.....
Aug 21, 2013 6:12PM
While Dick's should have never changed their policy in the first place, it seems that they have seen the error of their ways. I forgive Dick's and am happy to see that they support an original American industry and institution as well as the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Rule of Law that the liberal/progressives hate so much.
Aug 21, 2013 7:47PM

Even Wall Mart now has AR 15's so Dicks had to follow suit

down here in Okeechobee FL

Aug 21, 2013 8:46PM
good for them. Sell all the guns they want. I'm ok with that
Aug 21, 2013 8:18PM
Mostly it was women. Stay at home moms that had nothing to do but try to have Dicks not sell guns.
Aug 21, 2013 7:00PM
A smart move by Dick's but too late. I will never enter one of their stores again.
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