On Tuesday, the National Rifle Association criticized Dick’s Sporting Goods over its decision to destroy unsold firearms.
“@DICKS decision isn’t focusing on the actual problem, what it is doing is punishing law-abiding citizens,” the NRA tweeted. “What a waste, and what a strange business model.”
Dick’s Sporting Goods is in the process of “destroying” firearms and accessories that the company pulled from shelves after a February 28 policy change, according to a report last week from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
At the end of February, the company’s chairman and CEO Edward W. Stack announced that Dick’s Sporting Goods would no longer sell “assault-style rifles, also referred to as modern sporting rifles.” Stack also noted that following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the company’s main retail store (Dick’s) no longer carried the aforementioned rifles; now its 35 specialty Field & Stream stores will follow suit.
“We are destroying the firearms in accordance with federal guidelines and regulations,” a spokesperson for Dick’s, which is headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pa., told the Post-Gazette last week. The parts will be recycled by a salvage company.
Companies can sometimes return unsold merchandise to the manufacturer for a partial refund, HuffPost notes. It’s not clear if Dick’s had that option.
Following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and the renewed push for gun control measures, Stack wrote a letter outlining its new firearm and accessory policies.
“We support and respect the Second Amendment, and we recognize and appreciate that the vast majority of gun owners in this country are responsible, law-abiding citizens,” Stack wrote. “But we have to help solve the problem that’s in front of us. Gun violence is an epidemic that’s taking the lives of too many people, including the brightest hope for the future of America – our kids.”
“Following all of the rules and laws, we sold a shotgun to the Parkland shooter in November of 2017. It was not the gun, nor type of gun, he used in the shooting,” he continued. “But it could have been.”
In addition to stopping sales of assault-style rifles at its Field & Stream specialty stores, Dick’s stated they would no longer carry high-capacity magazines or sell firearms to those younger than 21, and they renewed their policy on not carrying bump stocks. The company also called on lawmakers to pass “common sense gun reform,” including the banning of assault rifles, high-capacity magazines, and bump stocks, enact universal background checks, and more.
Walmart also made firearm policy changes following the Parkland shooting; the retailer raised the minimum age for purchasing ammunition and firearms. In 2015, Walmart stopped carrying assault-style rifles.
These policy changes caused a social media backlash earlier this year and threats to boycott.