Dick's Sporting Goods Destroys $5 Million Worth of Its Own 'Assault Weapons'

A decision based on a poor grasp of gun technology.


Dick's Sporting Goods thinks it has found a solution to gun violence: destroying the company's own inventory.

In an interview with CBS on October 6, CEO Edward Stack revealed that Dick's had destroyed $5 million worth of "assault-style weapons" following the company's 2018 decision to remove them from store shelves.

Stack's stance on the issue began to take form in 2012, when he decided to stop selling the popular AR-15 rifle after Adam Lanza used one to kill 27 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Stack initially planned to remove the guns from store shelves quietly, but outcry from the National Rifle Association, firearm enthusiasts, and gun companies led Stack to publicly defend his decision, saying he didn't want "to sell…assault-style weapons that could inflict [the] kind of damage" seen at Sandy Hook.

After the 2018 shootings at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 people dead, Stack took his position a step further, announcing that Dick's would no longer sell firearms of any type to anyone under 21 and that it would pull all the remaining "assault weapons" from its stores. Two months later, the CEO announced his plan to physically destroy Dick's assault-weapon inventory. Stack claims these decisions were prompted by the fact that Nikolas Cruz, the Parkland shooter, had purchased a shotgun from Dick's prior to his arrest. "Even though it wasn't the gun he used. It could've been," Stack said. (Yet Dick's still sells shotguns.)

The backlash from the firearms industry was even bigger this time, with multiple gun companies, including O.F. Mossberg & Sons Inc., MKS Supply, and Springfield Armory, severing ties with the chain completely.

Destroying $5 million in gun inventory does not seem to be affecting Dick's bottom line. This past August, Dick's posted its best-earning quarter in three years.

It probably won't affect crime much either. A 2018 analysis by the Rand Corporation "found no qualifying studies showing that bans on the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines decreased any of the eight outcomes we investigated," including mass shootings.

Those results shouldn't be surprising. When people say "assault weapon," they usually mean the guns banned by 1994's Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act, which expired in 2004. That law classified certain weapons as "assault weapons" for reasons as simple as being a specific brand, such as Kalashnikov, or bearing a combination of certain physical characteristics, such as folding stocks and threaded barrels. As Reason's Jacob Sullum has noted, these features have no impact on a weapon's lethality. The functional capabilities of an AR-15 and a standard hunting rifle are the same. Both are semiautomatic weapons, firing one bullet per pull of the trigger.

And yes, Dick's still stocks and sells semiautomatic rifles that aren't considered "assault weapons." Unsurprisingly, those are sometimes used in mass shootings. The Ruger 10/22, available at Dick's, was used in a massacre at Cascade Mall in Burlington, Washington, in 2016.

Stack acknowledged that the new policy won't stop mass shootings, saying: "You're probably right, it won't. But if we do these things and it saves one life, don't you think it's worth it?" It's unclear what life he thinks it saves to stop selling one arbitrarily defined group of weapons while continuing to offer mechanically identical products. Stack may need to brush up on how the guns he sells work.

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  1. “”But if we do these things and it saves one life, don’t you think it’s worth it?”””

    Perhaps if Dicks goes out of business it might save a life.

    1. Anybody who uses that “if it saves just one life…” argument should be beat to death with a baseball bat. Because, you know, maybe it will save one life, right?

      It’s the same as these global warming people who insist that even if it doesn’t come to pass, if there’s even a chance it’s true, shouldn’t we at least try to stop it? Well, no, fucko, not if it costs 100 trillion dollars and revokes 10,000 years of human advancement. If you want to go live in a tree and eat bugs and die in your 30’s from a mosquito bite or an infection from an impacted wisdom tooth or a broken arm you got from falling out of your tree, be my guest but I’ve got a healthy appreciation of being able to drink water my upstream neighbor didn’t just shit in and a warm soft bed and not being eaten by wolves. You gotta have some cost/benefit analysis here and if you think destroying civilization as we know it is an acceptable cost of saving civilization as we know it, you’re really bad at cost/benefit analysis.

      1. “Anybody who uses that “if it saves just one life…” argument should be beat to death with a baseball bat. Because, you know, maybe it will save one life, right?”

        And then Dick’s will ban the sale of baseball bats, right?

        1. England’s on track for banning Cricket Bats. Just saying.

      2. I’m waiting to see cities and states all over the world start banning Trees, as their wood could be fashioned into clubs, rocks and socks as they can become a deadly sap. (Someone could use baseballs and socks). . .

        And of course, that nasty battery acid, that muslims love to use against women that have the audacity to scorn them.

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  2. It’s clear that virtue signaling will solve all the world’s problems. Mr. Stack is on to something here, I’m sure.

    1. It seems to be working for the bigots at Chick-fil-A.

      1. And RAK once again proves that he is the biggest bigot in these threads.

        Give some of the other outrageous comments, it’s truly astonishing how RAK manages to stay at the top of that heap.

      2. Chick Fil A is expanding and doing well, dumbass.

        1. “Chick Fil A is expanding and doing well, dumbass.”

          I indicated that Chick-fil-A is doing well consequent to its virtue signaling.

          Clingers pointedly reward Chick-fil-A for its gay-bashing and superstition-flattering ways.

          Other than that, though, great comment, I Callahan!

          1. Hi, gecko!

            1. Gall bladders. Specifically, the Rev is a jar full of the gall bladders of failed dictators that has somehow gained sentience.

              His trolling is akin to the Wizard in that old movie, who has to constantly distract everyone so they don’t catch on to his true nature. “Pay no attention to the sentient jar of organs behind the curtain!”

              Fun fact: the gall bladder supposedly belonging to Joseph Stalin is a fake. It is actually a partially masticated remnant of Lenin’s liver that remained in his Stalin’s system after Stalin ate the liver with the hope of absorbing Lenin’s lifeforce.

              1. I remember Tom Lehrer’s story about Dr. Samuel Gall, inventor of the gall bladder.

          2. “That company is doing well despite virtue signalling, lets signal the exact opposite virtues and we should do just as well”

          3. Did Chick-Fil-A make press releases to say how anti-gay they are?

      3. According to you Chik-Fil-A is a company that has nothing but racists and sexist bigots with no virtue.

        So how are they virtue-signalling?

      4. It seems to be working for the bigots (protesting) at Chick-fil-A.
        FTFY (you simple-minded cretin).

  3. Reason needs more of this. Let more non payroll “libertarian ” writers add stories.

    1. He’s an intern, apparently. Hope he sticks around for a bit.

      Though I think Sullum does a good job on gun stuff too.

      1. So he hasnt been corrupted by cocktail parties yet. Kid doesnt have a chance.

  4. A decision based on a poor grasp of gun technology

    I’m tempted to say that this is a decision based on a poor grasp of who their customer base is, but the guy making the decision is the guy who built the company and if he wants to piss it all away, well, good for him for putting his money where his mouth is. It is too bad for Dick’s employees and suppliers and others who rely on Dick’s for their paychecks that they’re just collateral damage in this guy’s virtue-signaling crusade, though.

    1. Do you feel similarly about Chick-fil-A, which inconveniences customers (including in limited-option contexts, such as airports and on campuses) and disrespects the market by declining to open on Sundays? Does its failure to open on Sunday, or its gay-bashing, also constitute a ‘virtue-signaling crusade?’ Are you similarly concerned about Chick-fil-A’s employees and suppliers?

      1. How does it inconvenience customers?

        And how does not opening on Sunday ‘disrespect the market’? Do you not know what a market is?

        What gay bashing?

      2. Is that all you got? What about Chik-fil-A?

      3. “…and disrespects the market…”

        We’ve got more than our share of lefty ‘tards here. But he’ll be here all week.

    2. Dick’s is a basically an urban sporting goods store for affluent white progressives to buy their ski gear. Not all Dick;’s, but enough are that they can profit from the virtue signalling.

      1. Suburban and exurban, not urban.

        Ski merchandise is a scant element of Dick’s business.

        Other than that, great comment.

        1. Totally missing the point, but great comment.

    3. And a poor grasp of how manufacturing and supply and demand works. Does he think the gun makers somehow won’t be able to produce enough product to meet demand after he destroys the guns?

  5. Stack either understands just fine or he does not care. This is not about having a rational position, this is about posturing and conforming to political doctrine. The Big Lie that there is such a category of weapons as “assault” has been ingrained as an accepted reality, even though the term has no definite meaning.

    Of course, I wonder what he say if questioned about if it would make any difference if one life was lost because someone could not buy a rifle at Dick’s.

  6. Well, he’s living up to his name.

  7. Meanwhile, a few people die after being hit in the head with baseball bats. A few more people die after being stabbed with knives. Dick’s sells baseball bats and knives, but……

    1. Actually, since you’re more than twice as likely to be murdered with a knife than with any kind of rifle, you’d think they’d stop selling knives too. And blunt objects (like golf clubs) also kill more than rifles. let’s boycott Dick’s until they stop selling the real dangerous weapons.

  8. Assault weapons are black and scary, which makes Dick’s racist.

    1. Girls like Dick’s especially when they’re black and scary…

  9. Dear Mr. Stack,

    As an informed consumer, I would never purchase a weapon from Dick’s Sporting Goods. I would go to one of the 1,000’s of “gun” stores in and around my area. They specialize in weapons, have a larger inventory, and can purchase at less cost. But, thanks to your uninformed “virtue signaling”, I will also no longer purchase anything from your store…no camping gear, no sports clothing, nothing. Your pandering to the ignorant may well pay off for your company, but it will be without my assistance.

    Former Dick’s Customer

    PS Scattered around my home are various titanium Little League baseball bats that are short, light-weight and incredibly much stronger than a human skull. Many of these were bought from Dick’s. So if someone enters my home, I will crush their skull and their death will be on your hands for selling such a dangerous weapon.

    1. Do you also boycott Chick-fil-A? Why would its ‘virtue signaling’ (declining to transact on Sunday, bashing gays) be better than Dicks’ ‘virtue signaling’ (declining to sell certain weapons)?

      1. Chick-Fil-A does not bash gays. The owner contributed to a legal political campaign, but that does not mean the restaurants are bashing gays. The chain actually hires gays.

      2. Go check yourself into a hospital, you’re imagining bullshit again.

      3. Bigoted asshole seems to have a fixation:
        “Do you also boycott Chick-fil-A?…”

      4. We have a local waste metal recycler that is closed on Sunday AND Monday. How’s that for … giving their employess two days off … or something.

      5. Every time you comment about that I think I should take the family there. I probably won’t, but the thought I would do it is less made up than the dumb shit you keep peddling.

  10. > The Ruger 10/22, available at Dick’s, was used in a massacre at Cascade Mall in Burlington, Washington, in 2016.

    The Ruger 10/22 is a target rifle. Barely one step up from a squirrel rifle. That some people would call it an “assault” rifle is beyond stupid.

    1. And yet, like all rifles, you can purchase after market accessories that magically turn that harmless target rifle into a deadly “military style assault rifle” complete with folding stock, high capacity magazines, thumb-hole stocks, telescopic sights, night sights, and whatever the insane politicians dream up next. All without a single functional change to the firing mechanism, rate of fire, or leathality.

    2. They can be customized to be black and scary looking. And they shoot a projectile that is very similar to what the scary looking AR 15 shoots. That makes them assault rifles. Duh.

  11. “Yet Dick’s still sells shotguns.”

    They offer them for sale, that does not mean they are actually selling any.

  12. A decision based on a poor grasp of gun technology

    Nope. Based on criteria you refuse to acknowledge.

    You can disagree with a decision without straw-manning it, you know.

    1. An AR-15 is no more dangerous than a Mini-14 or a M-1 Carbine, both of which are regularly and specifically exempted from assault weapon bans.

      1. Not to mention the super deadly Short Magazine Lee-Enfield bolt action rifle. A true military assault weapon, the only bannable feature it has is a bayonet lug.
        Yet it can deliver 39 AIMED rounds a minute.

  13. dicks.

  14. Handguns are the biggest killer. After suicides the problem is mostly black and Hispanic gang members. drug dealers with illegal handguns.

    Since Dicks will gladly sell these folks all the handgun ammunition they can carry they either want the business and/ or don’t care what happens after they sell their merchandise.

  15. “The functional capabilities of an AR-15 and a standard hunting rifle are the same.”

    Yeah, totally the same. There is no difference in a bolt action clip or no clip fed rifle and a magazine fed rifle. lmfao Someone calling someone ignorant on guns while at the same time also being ignorant of guns. This shit is too rich.

    1. There are plenty of magazine fed, semi-auto hunting rifles.
      Whether that’s a “standard” hunting rifle, maybe you could argue about, but that would be petty and silly.

    2. There’s no such thing as a clip fed rifle clips feed magazines, magazines feed firearms. Be careful calling others ignorant.

    3. “tis better to remain silent and thought a fool than to speak up and remove all doubt”

  16. But did they turn the metal from those destroyed weapons into playground equipment for third world children? Then they clearly haven’t gone far enough.

  17. I go there once or twice a year.

    To buy fishing tackle mostly. They have some shotguns and hunting rifles, also if you want golf, baseball, other things.


  18. THOMAS SOWELL pretty well captures the reason I disdain these decision makers at Dick’s, Citi, Bank of America, Walmart, yada yada yada. “The difference between a policy and a crusade is that a policy is judged by its results, while a crusade is judged by how good it makes its crusaders feel.”

  19. My favorite word: “Eponymous”
    Bigly apropos.

  20. It’s shocking that they still sell the AR-7 rifle when so many folk believe that AR-7 actually stands for “Assault Rifle 7” because – monkeys. Maybe they don’t feel that a .22 LR through the cranium is as bad as a .223 Remington even if the difference in diameter is – oh wait.

  21. Dick’s sells knives. About 4 times as many people are killed each year with those as rifles. Stack has incorrect priorities.

  22. I have to wonder about the veracity of this report. It seems such an event could have easily been turned into a seminal event for anti gunners. To have a seller such as Dicks, take 5 million dollars worth of the dreaded assault weapons and run them over with a bulldozer or steamroller, would have made great press.

    I could have seen the anti-gun types fawning over that for years.

  23. Let’s see what’s more likely: Dick’s destroys 200,000 dollars worth of cheap chinese AR15 clones to avoid being accused of selling out, while trying to maximize the loss. Still sell Mini-14.

  24. I hope Dick’s shareholders throw him out on his ass, as every major company’s shareholders should if the CEO destroys $5 million worth of merchandise for no business reason whatsoever.

  25. Dick’s posted its best-earning quarter in three years.”

    After three years of earning losses due to its anti-gun actions. its not hard to have an improvement after that and people start to forget why they quit going there in the first place and the massive add campaign they spent a fortune on but never mentioned their anti-gun stance in those adds.

  26. Now do roller skates

  27. “Dicks” is tied with “bj’s” for people’s champion chain store name. “K-mart” is katching up though…

  28. I’d say this increased the price of my rifle, but my rifle is in a different league than the shit they sell.

  29. It seems to be working for the bigots at Chick-fil-A.
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