Dick's Sporting Goods AR-15 Discontinuation Announcement Is Likely More Show than Substance

The big news that has all the gun control crowd applauding is that Dick’s Sporting Goods will no longer be selling AR-15s from their stores, but something about it just seemed fishy to me. Sure enough, I was right.

My first reaction to this was that Dick’s wouldn’t have made this move if the AR-15 was an item that made up a large portion of its profits. If the AR-15 was flying off their shelves in such a manner that it was in large part responsible for keeping their company in the black, then you can damn well bet Dick’s wouldn’t have announced such a changeup in policy.

I have no way of seeing what the profits from AR-15 sales from Dick’s were, but thanks to Free Beacon’s Stephen Gutowski, we’ve got some background info that put some facts behind my hunch.

First, an interesting factoid that many people may not have known about.

The fact of the matter is that Dick’s Sporting Goods’ main stores — the kind you find in shopping centers — haven’t sold any AR-15’s since 2012, after the Sandy Hook massacre. There are some 600-plus stores around America, only a handful of which sell AR-15’s. The stores that did sell them were known as “Field and Stream” locations, or offshoot stores sometimes attached to Dick’s locations.

Of these, there are only 35.

Now that we know Dick’s only sold semi-auto rifles out of a handful of locations, we can also delve into some other factors that make their announcement little more than a grandiose virtue signal.

For one, given that only a few stores actually sold the rifle, their profit margin for it must be low already. Add to that the fact that there are only 35 locations where they did sell them, and you have a large part of the American population that probably didn’t know Dick’s dealt in guns at all, much less AR-15’s. I know I didn’t until they made that announcement.

Now let’s add on to that the fact that many gun owners who did know about their 2012 announcement might still be somewhat salty over Dick’s previous anti-gun attitude, and may have refused to buy from it anyway.

Again, without the solid numbers on AR-15 sales from Dick’s, we won’t be able to tell how much of a sacrifice the company is actually making by not selling these rifles, but all the clues point to it being pretty much no sacrifice at all. The way Dick’s and the media tells it, this is a huge step for a company to make in the quest for gun control.

But what it likely is, is a dog and pony show with no real skin in the game from Dick’s at all.

If Dick’s would like to release their numbers and prove me wrong, I’ll gladly write it up.