It seems that the anti-gun bent at Dick’s was festering before the company could use the school shooting at Parkland, Fla., as a politically expedient excuse to curtail the availability of guns and accessories. In addition to the arbitrary restrictions the company has implemented in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting to enforce vigilante gun control rules in a market driven by hunters, Dick’s Sporting Goods has broken the basic rules of business deals when it comes to dealing with companies in the firearm industry, a lawsuit filed last week reveals.
Dick’s, with headquarters in Pennsylvania and more than 600 retail outlets, saw its sales plummet recently—a sales drop that is partly attributable to its moral-superiority decisions to ignore federal law on age for long-gun ownership, to stop selling popular AR-15 rifles, and to destroy guns in the store inventory rather than resell them.
This episode is only the latest installment in a series of losing business moves from Dick’s. Now, Dick’s faces a $5 million lawsuit filed by Nevada-based Battle Born Munitions (BBM) earlier this month, alleging breach of contract and fraud. According to the 11-page lawsuit filed in Pennsylvania federal court, Dick’s made a $4.5 million Field & Stream ammunition order in January 2016—but when the trademarked goods arrived, the company refused to pay or take delivery.
It seems that besides hiring lobbyists to push for restrictive laws that infringe on law-abiding gun owners, Dick’s does not even follow the basic rules of fair trade. According to BBM, Dick’s held them up for nearly a year, costing the ammunition dealer time and money. During the stalemate, BBM held Dick’s trademarked ammunition at a warehouse. Choosing not to advertise the new goods, Dick’s waited until stock market values fluctuated before accepting the unlisted inventory for retail sale, the lawsuit alleges.
It is clear from Dick’s business decisions in whole that the company’s corporate leadership places its interests above the inalienable constitutional rights of others—above the rights of shareholders, investors, customers, citizens and trading partners. In its dealings with BBM, Dick’s unscrupulously violated the basic rules of contract law. The retailer’s goal in this case indicates that it was concerned more with self-enrichment through manipulation of demand and supply than with upholding its contractual obligations.
This episode is only the latest installment in a series of losing business moves from Dick’s. The company might try to take advantage of political headlines to exploit public moods, but crowd-pleasing tactics are no remedy for lack of business sense.
America is home to many successful free business ventures renowned around the world. No successful American company alienates regular customers, dismisses the common sense of investors and shareholders, and angers trading partners with underhanded behavior as part of any long-term success strategy. American companies adapt to suit consumers’ needs precisely because American people are free—and that means they are free not to do business with inflexible companies like Dick’s. That is why Dick’s has seen its sales fall off to the point where it is going to be closing about 10 percent of its retail outlets.
The decisions taken by Dick’s violate not only American citizens’ right to Second Amendment freedoms, but also their basic human right to fair business practices.