Last time we checked in with the folks at Dick’s Sporting Goods (and their subsidiary, Field & Stream) they were having something of a gun problem. Bowing to pressure from left-wing groups in the wake of the Florida school shooting, the retailer had announced that they were no longer going to carry so-called “assault weapons” and were raising the minimum age to purchase any firearm to 21. (And they were already getting sued in two states over that last part.) But that left one question hanging over this major retail outlet. They are a national brand that keeps large stockpiles of inventory ready to ship at all times, including the now banished rifles and accessories. What are they going to do with them all?

Nothing to worry about there, folks. They’re just going to destroy them. (NRA-ILA)

Dick’s Sporting Goods took their campaign to alienate law-abiding gun owners to an extraordinary new level last week. The beleaguered retailer announced that in addition to removing certain types of semi-automatic rifles from their stores, the company will destroy its stock of these commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms along with any accessories for the guns…

A spokesperson for the Pennsylvania-based retail chain told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, that the company is “in the process of destroying all firearms and accessories that are no longer for sale as a result of our February 28th policy change.” The report noted that the unsold merchandise is being moved to the company’s distribution centers where it is being destroyed. What’s left of the ruined firearms is then being sold for scrap.

Dick’s decision to stop selling certain configurations of semi-automatic firearms was irrational, but the decision to destroy these lawful firearms is unjustifiable. Long-guns of any description are rarely used in crime.

NRA-ILA goes on to point out some of the blatant hypocrisy in this decision, which is obviously little more than a PR stunt that will cut into the bottom line of their shareholders. The FBI reports that rifles of all kinds were responsible for 374 homicides in 2016 while “knives and cutting instruments” accounted for 1,604 murders. Still, Dick’s is advertising a wide range of “tactical” knives which certainly look quite “scary” to the casual observer. And after all, the measure of what makes something an “assault weapon” is essentially how “scary” it looks, right? Also, Field & Stream is still selling handguns which were used in murders at a rate more than twenty times that of all rifles combined.

The other obvious question is why they would go to the bother of physically destroying their inventory of rifles. The value of the metal as scrap is basically nothing when compared to what they charge for a functional firearm. Why not sell them off at a slight loss to another store with more sane sales policies? I’m quite sure there are any number of gun shops out there that would jump at the chance to snatch up some of that stockpile at a discount. Don’t the company’s stockholders care that the management is literally sending their profits into the recycling bin? Granted, it’s probably not a large enough percentage of their overall sales to tank their profits entirely, but it’s still a poor business decision.

The current hysteria is going to pass, just as it always does, and support for the Second Amendment rights of citizens will remain. At that point, Dick’s is going to be left in an awkward position, having taken such a vocal and visible stand against gun rights. And somebody at the top of the organization will need to answer for it.