Remember when Dick’s Sporting Goods decided to sign on with the Everytown for Gun Safety crew and stop selling “assault rifles” in their stores? They didn’t just halt sales… they destroyed their stock rather than letting someone else sell it. They were clearly sending a message and that message was heard loud and clear in the hunting community. Their sales tanked almost immediately.

With that bit of history in mind, it’s not surprising to hear that they’re modifying their policies. But it’s not the sort of modification you might be imagining. Rather than conceding that their previous decision was tone deaf, the company is doubling down. They will now stop selling all firearms in more than 100 of their stores. (Ithaca Journal)

Dick’s Sporting Goods announced Tuesday it will remove firearms from 125 of its stores, according to news reports. The move follows the company’s ban on assault-style weapons last year in the wake of the Parkland shooting.

CEO Ed Stack said Tuesday that Dick’s will pull hunting gear from 125 stores starting in around August in response to its slumping sales in those stores, Bloomberg reported, a move that may spread to more stores next year…

Dick’s last year announced it would ban sales of assault-style weapons after the Parkland, Florida, school shooting and revelations that its shooter, Nikolas Cruz, had purchased a gun from a Dick’s store. The company also halted sales of high-capacity magazines and guns to anyone under 21 years old.

As the Daily Caller points out, CEO Ed Stack may not have lost all of his marbles entirely. There’s a strategy behind the choice to end firearm sales in these particular stores. They’re all located in specific markets where “hunting isn’t as popular” and, presumably, guns and the Second Amendment aren’t either. A list isn’t provided, but it’s probably safe to assume that these outlets are in the larger coastal cities.

It sounds as if Dick’s is hoping to lure more liberals into those stores by making a big show of removing all the guns. But that’s a seriously limited slice of the market, isn’t it? You’re trying to attract anti-gun liberals in cities who are also heavily into fishing, camping and hiking? (Yes, they sell some other sports equipment, but that’s the main thrust of their merchandise.) Are they going to also stop selling hunting licenses but continue to offer fishing licenses? This is a confused marketing program from the looks of it.

The problem is, Second Amendment advocates in general and hunters, in particular, tend to be a fairly media savvy group. And there’s a lot of crossover between the various sports. Hunters tend to fish and vice versa. They keep track of stories like this. So even if they find themselves in need of some fishing gear or a new tent, they might consider going to another store that isn’t making such a point about being anti-gun.

I still find this entire story arc really sad. I don’t know what got into Ed Stack’s head, but I personally always liked going to the Dick’s outlet near where I live. They had a wide variety of fishing lures, rods and related equipment. But I haven’t set foot in there since the gun ban began. I’m pretty confident that I’m not the only one around here either.