Free-market group confronts CEO over policies in response to school shootings…
(Michael Barnes, Liberty Headlines) Dick’s Sporting Goods is doubling-down on its prohibition against certain firearms sales.
The sporting goods giant held its annual shareholder meeting in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, and its CEO, Ed Stack, proudly told investors that the company’s corporate managers will not budge on recently enacted gun restrictions.
In February, Dick’s Sporting Goods made national headlines when it announced it would no longer sell certain guns, like the AR-15.
It also banned other so-called “assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines, and began barring gun sales to adults under age 21.
Dick’s also hired lobbyists to promote its new gun restrictions.
The new policies were a response to the Parkland High School shooting in Broward County, Florida that left 17 students dead.
Schools officials and the Broward County Sheriff’s Office failed to prevent the attack, despite being well aware of shooter Nikolas Cruz’s highly troubled history.
Cruz was even enrolled in a controversial Obama-era criminal diversion program.
Many gun rights advocates and 2ndAmendment supporters saw the company’s publicized decision as playing politics in the wake of a national tragedy.
“Thoughts and prayers are not enough,” Stack said in a statement at the time.
On Tuesday, Stack admitted that the restrictions“did alienate some gunowners,” but he insisted that it was still the right call.
“We’re not going to change,” he said.
But Stack wasn’t speaking to an audience in full agreement.
David Almasi, vice president of the National Center for Public Policy Research and a Dick’s shareholder, confronted the chief executive officer and other company leaders about the decision to put politics over customers and investors.
“Mr. Stack, you knew the risk of these political moves from the start. During your March 13th earnings call, you admitted: ‘There are just going to be some people who just don’t shop us anymore for anything,’” Almasi said.
Almasi also pointed out that Dick’s Sporting Goods executives have been willfully losing money for the company because of their politics.
He also said the company’s reputation has been damaged by lending its brand and resources to those who want to abolish the 2ndAmendment.
The exchange ended when Stack asked Almasi, “I suspect we won’t see you in our stores?”
Almasi answered, “Probably not.” Stack replied: “Fine!”
Almasi attended the shareholder meeting as a representative of the NCPPR’s Free Enterprise Project, which claims to be the country’s leading proponent of free-market investor activism.
FEP has raised the issue of gun rights several times this shareholder season, including with Bank of America and United Airlines.
FEP representatives have participated in 26 shareholder meetings so far in 2018.
Over the past four years alone, its representatives have participated in over 100 shareholder meetings.
“The management of Dick’s Sporting Goods shot itself in the foot by catering to the fanaticism of the gun-grabbers,” said Almasi.
“Stack seems to believe that most customers support the company’s politicized retail strategy, but he has also acknowledged that these decisions could harm shareholders’ return on investment. This is irrational and irresponsible, and I don’t consider it a sustainable strategy,” he said.
By the end of May, Dick’s chief financial officer was telling market analysts that the company’s first quarter firearm and firearm-related sales experienced an “accelerated decline” as a result of its new gun control policies.
“We expect these businesses to remain under significant pressure throughout the remainder of the year,” Dick’s CFO said.