Like athlete’s foot and X-Files reboots, Dick’s Sporting Goods just won’t go away.
The company took virtue signaling to a whole new level this week, telling the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that it plans to destroy the “assault-style rifles” it recently banned from its Field & Stream stores.
“We are in the process of destroying all firearms and accessories that are no longer for sale as a result of our February 28th policy change,” a spokeswoman told the Post-Gazette. “We are destroying the firearms in accordance with federal guidelines and regulations.”
Rifles will be destroyed at the company’s distribution centers and the parts sent to a salvage company to be recycled. The sports and outdoor retailer did not tell the Post-Gazette how much merchandise would be included or what kind of financial losses the company would sustain.
Dick’s announced following the Parkland massacre that they would stop selling standard capacity magazines and “assault-style rifles” at their specialty outdoor chain, Field & Stream. They also halted the sale of all types of firearms to anyone under age 21.
While the latest move indicates the company’s commitment to its new policy, they’ve faced backlash from the pro-gun community. Two young men under the arbitrary age limit have sued the company for its new policy, and Dick’s posted “deeper than expected losses” in its most recent quarter.
Dick’s banned AR-type rifles at its namesake stores following the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012. But later introduced the rifles to its more limited number of Field & Stream stores. The company hasn’t said what it did with the rifles following its first ban.
The decision to destroy the rifles likely stems from a recent rash of viral videos that show gun owners destroying their AR-15s. The most common rationale among the videos’ creators is that they don’t want the rifles to “fall into the wrong hands” and would rather destroy the firearm than sell it back to a dealer.
This is all grandstanding, of course, because of the estimated 10 million modern sporting rifles in the United States, a grand total of 285 rifles of any kind were used to commit homicides in 2013 (a .00285% chance). The odds of dying in a car crash are about 54 times higher (a .155% chance). But it’s tough to find anyone destroying their cars over public safety concerns.
Also, if Dick’s decides to film their do-gooder exploits, they should be careful to avoid following the example of Virginia congressional candidate Karen Mallard, who found herself in hot water with the ATF after turning her AR into an SBR and posting the video on Facebook.