The nation’s largest firearms trade association expelled Dick’s Sporting Goods on Friday morning, citing the retailer’s decision to hire multiple gun control lobbyists. The vote to expel Dick’s from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, or NSSF, was unanimous, the group said in a press release issued Friday morning.
“The National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®), the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industries, Board of Governors today unanimously voted to expel Dick’s Sporting Goods from membership for conduct detrimental to the best interests of the Foundation,” the group announced.
NSSF cited the hiring by Dick’s of lobbyists to push for gun control as a major impetus for the decision to expel Dick’s from NSSF’s membership.
NSSF’s vote to expel Dick’s Sporting Goods follows news first reported by The Federalist that Dick’s hired three lobbyists to push exclusively for gun control. Federal lobbying disclosure records show that the lobbyists were hired on April 27, 2018, for the sole purpose of “[l]obbying related to gun control.” The previous lobbyist for Dick’s, a Republican who formerly worked for the House Financial Services committee, was fired in late January. Instead of pushing for gun control, that lobbyist had focused on tax reform, cybersecurity, and patent litigation reform on behalf of Dick’s, according to federal lobbying records.
NSSF previously expressed disappointment at decisions by Dick’s Sporting Goods to no longer sell modern assault rifles or to sell rifles to anyone under the age of 21, despite there being no federal prohibition against such sales.
“Nonetheless, we are disappointed by the decision of Dick’s Sporting Goods to stop selling modern sporting rifles at its 35 Field & Stream stores, to cease sales of certain magazines and to raise the purchase age to 21 for all firearms at all its stores,” the group stated in a press release issued at the time.
NSSF reiterated its support for constitutional solutions to reduce gun violence and encourage responsible gun ownership in that same release.
“On behalf of our industry, NSSF supports effective solutions to achieve that goal, which is shared by all Americans. NSSF strongly supports and calls upon Congress to immediately pass the Fix NICS bill – named after our program of the same name – to increase the reporting of all disqualifying criminal and applicable mental health records to the FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database to increase the effectiveness of the system on which our nation’s retailers depend.”