Sales soar at sporting goods store Dick's after company ditches rifles


After Dick's Sporting Goods ceased sales of military-style assault rifles, the NRA warned that the company was doomed. But that prediction was flat wrong.

The NRA warned Dick's Sporting Goods that the retailer would face financial ruin for taking a stand against assault rifles. But in fact, quite the opposite has happened.

The most recent quarterly results show that the NRA's barrage of attacks has proven impotent in the real world.

Sales at Dick's were up 4.6 percent from a year ago, and the company's stock price increased by 23 percent with the unexpectedly strong returns. Wall Street had estimated the retailer's profits would be $1.88 billion; the actual number was $1.91 billion.

As CNBC reported, the strong earnings eased "concerns that restrictions it placed on gun purchases would hurt its sales."

In February, Dick's said it would pull military-style assault rifles from its shelves. The announcement came after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, where the perpetrator used an AR-15 to kill 17 people.

Radiologist Heather Sher, who treated victims of the shooting, described the effect of such weapons in chilling terms.

"Nothing was left to repair — and utterly, devastatingly, nothing could be done to fix the problem," she said. "The injury was fatal."

And military veterans have described the guns as weapons of war, with no place in civilian hands.

But the extremists at the NRA don't care and have repeatedly opposed efforts to ban assault weapons. They are unmoved by the body count of American children killed just for attending school.

As part of that campaign, the NRA has been steadily attacking Dick's.

The radical group called the retailer "a thing of the past." It falsely said the company "continues to infringe on our Second Amendment right one step at a time."

NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch complained Dick's was "trying to bend a knee to people who don't shop with you in the first place."

Discussing the company's post-Parkland decisions, the NRA said, "Dick’s has inserted itself into a tight spot from which it might not emerge unscathed, if it manages to survive at all."

The group added that Dick's "business with Second Amendment supporters in particular may well grind to a halt."

The fallout from the supposed loss of support Dick's was risking by embracing the position of most Americans would be massive, the NRA argued.

"Dick’s example should serve as a warning for other businesses in the firearm sector that would hope to find common cause with activists who are seeking nothing so much as to put gun sellers out of business for good," the group insisted.

But as has often been the case, the NRA's bark was worse than its bite. And corporate America is well aware of that.

The NRA, after all, backed the candidate who lost the popular vote in the last three presidential elections. So perhaps its powers of prediction are not as strong as it believes.

Rather than crumbling, Dick's is thriving, proving that it isn't necessary to capitulate to the NRA's extremism. The free market has spoken — and the NRA has lost again.