What the Dick's story says about guns and Big Money

More than a dozen companies have ended partnerships with the NRA. Wall Street banks are re-evaluating their ownership...

Posted: Feb 28, 2018 3:47 PM
Updated: Feb 28, 2018 3:47 PM

More than a dozen companies have ended partnerships with the NRA. Wall Street banks are re-evaluating their ownership stakes in gun makers and sellers. Gun stocks are falling.

And Wednesday, Dick's Sporting Goods announced it will stop selling assault-style weapons like the one used in the Parkland, Florida, high school shooting two weeks ago. The $3 billion retailer backed by Wall Street investment giants also said it will raise the minimum age for all gun sales to 21.

Big Money is forcing a reckoning on guns.

Fran Gormley, a marketing professor at NYU, said pressure from students and advocacy groups has "forced brands to get off the sidelines" and re-examine their relationship with the gun industry.

"The students are taking this up in a way that reframes the argument. It's not about guns. It's about children and safety," Gormley said. "It causes companies to look at this differently."

Dick's CEO Edward Stack said on CNN's "New Day" that the company was moved by the Parkland students' pleas for gun control.

"We concluded if these kids are brave enough to organize and do what they're doing, we should be brave enough to take this stand," Stack said.

Related: Companies learn the hard way: There's no easy way to take sides in polarized America

This isn't the first time national outrage has forced companies to rethink their gun strategy.

Walmart stopped selling assault-style weapons shortly after nine people were gunned down in a Charleston, South Carolina, church in 2015. Dick's stopped selling military-style semi-automatic weapons after the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in 2012, but it kept selling them at its 35 Field and Stream stores.

After the Parkland shooting, though, Dick's once again found itself under its investors' microscope.

BlackRock and State Street, two of Dick's largest shareholders, said they had questions for gun companies after the school massacre.

Related: Wall Street has more questions on guns

BlackRock, the biggest shareholder in gunmakers Sturm Ruger and American Outdoor Brands, said last week that it would be "engaging with weapons manufacturers and distributors to understand their response to recent events." State Street wanted to know how gunmakers "will support the safe and responsible use of their products."

Vanguard Group is both Dick's largest investor and a top shareholder in gun manufacturers. It declined to comment on Dick's decision to stop selling assault-style weapons and to raise the age for gun purchases.

Signs that Wall Street and Corporate America are growing weary of gun companies have taken a toll on stock prices.

American Outdoor Brands is down 14% and Sturm Ruger has dropped 10% since the shooting. Vista Outdoor, which makes guns and ammunition, has fallen 9%.

When Barack Obama was president - and when it looked like Hillary Clinton might succeed him - the threat of gun control lifted gun sales. That threat has faded considerably now that Republicans control both the White House and Congress.

Analysts say the combination of Wall Street scrutiny and limited action in Congress will continue to weigh on gun stocks.

"I think you're going to see a continued sideways grinding on these gun stocks," said Brian Rafn, an analyst for Morgan Dempsey.

-CNN's Chris Isidore and Aaron Smith contributed to this report.

Huntsville
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 73°
Florence
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 97° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 73°
Fayetteville
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 70°
Decatur
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 70°
Scottsboro
Broken Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 70°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 94827

Reported Deaths: 1674
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson12743242
Mobile9565206
Montgomery6521148
Madison525030
Tuscaloosa410371
Unassigned347461
Baldwin344323
Shelby320133
Marshall309034
Lee262844
Morgan233017
Etowah207530
DeKalb177113
Calhoun170413
Elmore169438
Walker150264
Houston136412
Russell13422
Dallas131123
St. Clair131016
Limestone128413
Franklin125820
Cullman120112
Colbert115613
Lauderdale113917
Autauga106521
Escambia105416
Talladega98613
Jackson9454
Tallapoosa84979
Chambers83538
Dale82323
Blount7743
Chilton7676
Butler75935
Coffee7475
Covington72620
Pike6907
Barbour5695
Lowndes56724
Marion56724
Marengo54614
Clarke4969
Hale46726
Bullock45411
Winston44411
Perry4364
Wilcox41810
Bibb4164
Monroe4154
Randolph39410
Pickens3849
Conecuh38210
Sumter36218
Lawrence3441
Macon33213
Washington32712
Crenshaw3133
Choctaw27912
Cherokee2637
Geneva2550
Henry2523
Greene25011
Clay2495
Lamar2172
Fayette1985
Cleburne1251
Coosa1012
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 118782

Reported Deaths: 1206
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby22635302
Davidson20185212
Rutherford640453
Hamilton597052
Knox440737
Williamson344825
Sumner336573
Unassigned30809
Out of TN284216
Wilson222923
Montgomery188313
Bradley187412
Sevier18307
Putnam171717
Trousdale15826
Robertson152119
Hamblen137214
Blount124310
Washington12002
Tipton11839
Maury11787
Madison102417
Sullivan93312
Bedford90811
Hardeman87517
Macon85613
Lake7820
Loudon7183
Bledsoe6901
Fayette6708
Gibson6705
Anderson6686
Dickson6662
Dyer6197
Cheatham5737
Jefferson5523
Henderson5472
Lawrence5346
McMinn52420
Rhea5221
Obion5194
Coffee5073
Warren4984
Carter4976
Lauderdale4878
Haywood4576
Hardin4538
Cocke4502
Greene4477
Smith4464
Hawkins4357
Roane4332
Cumberland4126
Monroe4079
Weakley3974
Giles36913
McNairy3665
DeKalb3392
Franklin3134
Carroll2903
Marshall2833
Lincoln2761
White2735
Henry2660
Crockett2604
Johnson2580
Claiborne2550
Hickman2530
Campbell2391
Wayne2252
Marion2164
Chester2112
Decatur1983
Polk1953
Grainger1940
Overton1751
Unicoi1560
Union1500
Cannon1420
Benton1391
Humphreys1203
Jackson1181
Scott1180
Grundy1112
Morgan1031
Sequatchie1020
Meigs1010
Fentress880
Hancock781
Perry770
Clay740
Stewart730
Lewis711
Moore600
Houston570
Van Buren350
Pickett311

Community Events