Palm Beach Post: Selling Guns at Shopping Malls is No Bueno


Dick’s Sporting Goods is not a magnet for carnage, despite what the author of the op-ed posits. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Selling firearms at shopping malls is a horrible idea, argues Rick Christie, a staff writer from the Palm Beach Post.

“You can purchase a lot of things at the mall nowadays, from candles to cars,” he opines in a recent op-ed. “But a hunting rifle? No. Too many targets. Too little security. And too much individual instability.”

What led him to sound off on the subject is news that Dick’s Sporting Goods might move into The Gardens Mall, in Palm Beach. Dick’s, as we all know, sells firearms and ammunition.

Christie’s argument hinges on various tired anti-gun arguments. To give you the rundown: There is “just something wrong about this,” it has a “disregard for public safety,” makes it “easier” for bad guys or careless gun owners to hurt people, “a criminal could smash the window and grab it,” it’s harder on security officers, and concealed carriers might get confused and shoot a gun purchaser.

My favorite is the last one because it takes the absurdity to a whole new level. Christie actually quoted local Police Chief Stephen Stepp to make that point.

“You go with an expectation at the mall that you’re not going to see somebody walking through the mall or walking through the parking lot with firearms,” said Stepp.

Stepp went on to explain the mindset of concealed carriers who see folks purchasing or returning long guns at Dick’s. “They may say, ‘Hey, I’m going to be the hero’ and take out this guy they perceived as a threat.”

That is so detached from reality it is laughable. Pretend a father is walking into Dick’s to return a Ruger 10/22, accompanied by his young son. Now, I’m just going to go up and shoot them both in the face because they are a “threat” and I want to be a hero. Give me a break!

For the vast majority of concealed carriers, a gun is a defensive weapon. Not an offensive one. Something to deploy only when things go (to use Clay’s phrase) pear-shaped. If there’s even the slightest bit of unease about a potential individual, or situation, the goal is to get outta dodge ASAP. Call the cops. Be a good witness, as they say. The notion that every gun owner wants to be Wyatt Earp is part of the pathology of anti-gunners.

SEE ALSO: Small Town in Tizzy over Gun Store Name

Most people, regardless of there experience carrying, understand the basics of threat assessment. Intuitively, they know the difference between a casual shopper and “Hey, there’s something off about that guy.” They also know the difference between a guy carrying a newly purchased rifle in a box and a crazed psycho loading, pointing, aiming and shooting one in public.  The latter situation requires some sort of intervention, the former does not.

The only people that are going to have trouble with guns being sold at Dick’s are the hoplophobes. Those with an irrational fear of guns. Those who see a gun, any gun, and think, Oh my god! This father and his ten-year-old boy are dangerous. But thankfully, they’re so afraid of guns that we don’t have to worry about them shooting anyone or trying to take matters into their own hands.

With over 600 Dick’s stores nationwide, many of which presumably sell guns and are close to malls and shopping centers, there is no evidence to suggest that these retail outlets are magnets for carnage or reckless vigilantism. None whatsoever. Like every other anti-gunner out there, Christie’s fears are widely overblown.

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 21 comments… add one }
  • Amos & Andy July 5, 2019, 8:34 am

    This Police Chief is spewing carp that is not even logical or even done. A father and son would not be able to take a Ruger 10/22 back to Dick’s or Even Wal-Mart. Once you purchase those firearms you are instructed to get all repairs done through the manufacturer. So this is a lot of Bull Butter on LEO mindset.

  • PredatorZR January 6, 2018, 12:48 pm

    Its funny he mentions candles and cars neither of which have ownership protected by the constitution. The one item that is expressly protected is the one he want to ban the sale of??? I would like to see him whine when we pass a law requiring him to have a permit to express his 1st amendment rights. It is funny how these people think they can pick and choose which laws are more important than others based on their personal opinions. Perhaps suggesting that people’s rights under the constitution should be taken away should be a crime in itself. Maybe he should be charged with treasonous activity.

  • Kelly Lee December 30, 2017, 7:37 am

    Any self respecting gun owner wouldn’t ever shop at Dick’s because of what they pulled after Sandy Hook. Screw Dick’s Sporting Goods!

    • Darryl January 1, 2018, 4:26 am

      plus their prices are way to high. but they have to sell high as they need to pay for the large store they just put up. i know of no one who buys there.

  • Dwane December 29, 2017, 9:02 pm

    Dick’s Sporting Goods are in the Melbourne Mall, Melbourne, FL Been there for years. I’ve purchased there some time ago. Didn’t have an issue walking out. I have never heard of an issue there. BTW, after they got rid of their “Black Rifles” after Sandy Hook, I don’t shop there anymore.

  • gonzo gonzales December 29, 2017, 7:54 pm

    ‘ “STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES!” – – – Forrest Gump ‘
    we’ve all heard the stories that are intended to shock and enrage (usually to prove a point that is ridiculous in and of itself).
    there is an old saying – “if you have it and don’t need it, good for you –
    BUT –
    if you need it and don’t have it , you’re shit out of luck!

  • Ron Guziejka December 29, 2017, 4:46 pm

    You have no idea how weird it is here in Palm Beach County, It has taken years just to get a public shooting range built, and they won’t let it open. Every other county in the good state of Florida has one, not Palm Beach County. As far buying fire arms in the mall, there is only self standing stores in plazas. At the very least the store will put it in a bag? ( paper or plastic?).
    It comes down to uneducated people trying to sell newspapers with a story that is created by writers desperately trying to keep their jobs, by using words that they think people are alerted to. ” murder, sex, guns, drugs, killing etc, etc. ” in stead of the
    industry standard of who, what , when, where and why.

  • Mjorin December 29, 2017, 3:13 pm

    J.C. Penny’s, Sears, Montgomery Wards and K-Mart used to all have gun counters.

  • Charles Kimberl December 29, 2017, 11:11 am

    The fact that a police chief has to act like a politician rather than law enforcement ticks me off. The guy is either a cop or a politician. He can’t be both and this is wrong.

    • Dennis December 30, 2017, 3:10 pm

      The problem is that police chiefs ARE political appointees so they do have a master and perhaps an unwritten policy that toes the line politically. At least sheriffs are elected officials and you’ll see much less of this kind of talk from them except in staunchly liberal areas.

  • JungleCogs December 29, 2017, 9:47 am

    What a great opportunity to introduce proper firearm safety to our youth and the general public.

  • joefoam December 29, 2017, 8:16 am

    Wal Mart has been selling guns alongside with ice cream and flip flops with no issues for years. We have a Cabelas and a Bass Pro Shop here and I haven’t heard of any mass shootings after a gun purchase. Dicks should just go somewhere else.

    • j.Brown December 29, 2017, 1:53 pm

      Many years ago (pre-computer days) I bought a little .22 Ruger Carbine from Walmart and as soon as the transaction was completed, an employee escorted me and my new rifle out to my automobile. I had no problem with that, but it makes you feel like you have done something wrong when you haven’t. Suspect those purchasing weapons in a Mall will be shown the EXIT while the ink is still wet. JB

  • Jesse Scott December 29, 2017, 7:31 am

    As long as there are stupid readers, you will have even stupider writers pandering to that stupidity.

  • Paul December 28, 2017, 8:07 am

    Yeah, I can buy a car and eat at a restaurant with a full service bar in one location! Like that’s a good idea.

  • Dr Motown December 27, 2017, 8:26 am

    The Dick’s and old Gander ‘s in Chicago couldn’t sell guns or ammo either, much to the benefit of their sister stores across the IN state line

  • John R. Pyles 111 December 26, 2017, 3:27 pm

    I think Dicks ought to find a better town to build in, and sell there sporting good’s. And tell the folks of Palm Beach that exercising one’s rights are not ok with the little snowflake Rick Christie , pardon me only Rick with the Palm Beach Post only has right’s, (dog gone sarcasm anyway). Well those jobs that would have came with Dicks Sporting goods should just go away.

  • Sepp W December 26, 2017, 2:45 pm

    Frankly Dick’s Sporting Goods is the pits, sorry selection of firearms and ammo (better off going to Cabelas or Bass Pro, if that floats your boat).. Nonetheless, there is a Dicks in one of the local malls here, and most malls in the area, if not all, are declared “gun free” zones by property owners. Low and behold, this Dicks has an outside entrance separate from the mall’s interior entrance and they have signs reminding customers they cannot proceed into the mall if they have made a firearms purchase.
    No one should open carry in these uncertain times. Put long guns go into a case or box, handguns into a bag. Too may unhinged people out and about that could get you killed by a mere accusation you are going armed and “look like” you’re about to kill innocents.

    • Dr Motown December 27, 2017, 8:21 am

      Have you ever seen somebody exiting Dicks’ with an unboxed firearm? Carrying a slung rifle through the mall? I never have. Same for Cabela’s and Bass Pro. Sounds like a typical hoplophobic reaction to a non-issue

    • JungleCogs December 29, 2017, 9:58 am

      I agree that open carry, though legal in many places, may not be the wisest move in all places. Then again, LEO’s do it all the time and few, if any, people are concerned about it.

      • Dwane December 29, 2017, 9:06 pm

        Why the difference with the hoplophobes?

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