Dick's Sporting Goods has taken a strong stance on gun control. In a statement, the company announced it will no longer sell assault-style rifles and will no longer sell firearms to people under 21 years of age. The statement dances the fine line between both sides of the gun control debate:
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. 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.
Walmart also announced it will no longer sell to people under 21 years of age. The company ended some firearm sales in 2015, so this policy further restricts what people can purchase when.
Companies are in a tough spot. Dicks, Walmart, Delta, and other companies have suffered backlash for their decisions, including people promising to boycott.
- Compare Dick's and Walmart's statements. How do they differ? Which is more effective and why?
- Describe Dick's choices. What are the risks and rewards of the announcement?
- Should other CEOs jump into the controversy? How might the decision depend on industry, customer base, or the leader him- or herself?