ed stack dick's sporting goods
(Photo by Stuart Ramson/Invision for DICK'S Sporting Goods/AP Images)
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By Larry Keane

Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO Ed Stack is being coy, if not predictable, about a third-party presidential run.

The businessman who recently announced he (possibly illegally) destroyed $5 million worth of modern sporting rifles and cost his publicly-traded company a quarter billion dollars, is reportedly working with focus groups to wade into the presidential political pool. It’s exactly what you do when you’re peddling a book to make up for those financial losses.

Stack, author of “It’s How We Play the Game,” is reportedly testing the temperature to see if he’s hot enough – or cool enough – to play spoiler between the eventual Democratic nominee and President Donald Trump in 2020. Presumably, Stack would attempt to co-opt the gun control message after it’s already failed for U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) and former Congressman Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke (D-Texas) who both used the debate stage to voice plans to forcibly confiscate lawfully owned semiautomatic rifles.

Dick’s History

In full disclosure, Dick’s Sporting Goods was a member of NSSF. The Board of Governors unanimously voted to expel the sporting goods store in 2018, not because Stack decided they didn’t want to sell modern sporting rifles, but because his company hired a Washington D.C.-based government affairs firm, for “[l]obbying related to gun control.”

He wasn’t content to simply make decisions for his own company, which is his prerogative. He wanted to force his decisions on the entire industry. NSSF has largely left Stack and Dick’s Sporting Goods out of gun control conversations since. However, Stack’s move to push himself into the political arena changes the calculus.

According to Politico, a focus group message-tested themes involving Stack and “showing leadership.” by halting modern sporting rifle sales following the tragic murders in Parkland, Florida. Stack, a billionaire, has been ramping up his media profile, recently calling on U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring up misguided gun control legislation for a vote and going on CBS News to promote his new book. It seems like writing a book has become a constitutional requirement for running for president.

The focus group reportedly didn’t offer high praise for Stack, questioning his age (he’s 64), and his lack of charisma.

Limiting Rights is Bad Business

We’ve got our own concerns and they’re drawn directly from Stack’s record of business decisions. These should give every American a good idea of what Stack thinks of their rights, whether it’s related to guns or otherwise.

Stack is entitled to make business decisions for his company, regardless of how misguided they might be. But turning those poor business decisions into public policy that would deny Americans their rights is an entirely different conversation.

As CEO, Stack made the following anti-gun decisions:

  • Ended the sale of all semiautomatic modern sporting rifles at Dick’s Sporting Goods following the tragic Sandy Hook murders.
  • Extended that ban on AR-15s to include Field & Stream Stores following the Parkland murders.
  • Barred the sale of standard-capacity magazines at all stores.
  • Unilaterally imposed age-based gun bans on law-abiding Americans under the age of 21, regardless of state and federal age-discrimination laws.
  • Removed firearms and hunting items altogether from 125 locations.
  • Hired a Washington D.C. lobbyist to impose strict gun control and ban an entire class of firearms.
  • Supports “No-Fly, No Buy” watchlists that deny gun rights without recourse and would serve as an “early warning terrorist notification system.”

Billionaire Hubris

Stack is quick to assign blame for the horrendous criminal actions of individuals to the firearms industry. Worse, he embraces policies that clearly tell the law-abiding American public he doesn’t trust them to exercise their God-given rights. Much like fellow billionaire and perennial presidential pretender Michael Bloomberg, he’s in favor of government nanny-state oversight and corporate overlords to make daily decisions.

One Libertarian Party advisor said Stack’s name has come up as a possible candidate, but that hardly jibes with the party’s platform of severely limiting government intrusion. Stack’s flirting with a presidential foray isn’t serious. It’s not even about enacting gun control. It’s worse.

Stack is only serious about boosting book sales to recoup the crushing debt from his anti-gun campaign.


Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel at National Shooting Sports Foundation.

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  1. If limiting rights is a bad idea why does the nssf support it? Also why did the nssf expel dicks ceo? did he go to far? You only want a little gun control and he wants to much.

      • They said the same damn thing about Trump, and look what happened.

        Tactically, her running could work out well for us. There’s *zero* enthusiasm for her, and that can suppress turnout…

        • they all think they can beat trump…when,..with the possible exception of one..(not her!)..none of them can…simply put…the American people aren’t buying what they’re selling….

  2. As much as I want to see Trump relegated to the waste heap of history, or better still the sanitary disposal section of history, yet another liberal leaning Hoplophobic candidate would be welcome. For all the impact he could have would be to pull voters away from whichever anti-gun idiot wins the Democratic nomination.

    • Alright, I’ll bite. So if you don’t like Trump (and no, he’s certainly not perfect), then tell us *who* you want in the White House. It’s not “enuf” (pun intended) to simply say you don’t like him.

      • I’ll jump in, here. Just why is Trump not ideal? I grew up in an era when we did not even hear about all the bullshit he is being judged on, much less care. We voted for people who promised to govern according to principles we believed to be the best for a free people to prosper under. Anybody think Eisenhower was a sex symbol, a boy toy? The nation under Obama was foundering, because he was *deliberately* attempting to destroy it, with a goal of making every American dependent on the government. The tiny amount of progress made on his watch was in spite of him, not because of him, Trump just had to get the government out of the way. And he made a good start, but then Nancy lied so spectacularly that she succeeded in regaining the power she so adores, and is off again trying to sink our nation into the socialist abyss.

        Look. Trump has attempted is every way to keep his campaign promises. Some Republicans and every single Democrat have lied, cheated and stolen to cut him off at the knees for every single effort. If he had any cooperation, the economy would be streaking ahead even more fantastically than it is. Since he has been required to deal with nutbar opposition, decreasing his accomplishments, it is clear that he must have a third, maybe a fourth term to accomplish the things he promised. Chuck and Nancy agree this will be necessary. Polls show this 76% to 21%.

    • I worked around and for politicians for 40+ years, but have never been one. I’ll send 95 percent of them to the waste heap or sanitary disposal before Trump. Most started early to develop a clean appearance and record (class President or even the occasional Rhodes Scholar, etc.), but will figuratively stab you in the back or rob you blind without remorse. With Trump and a few others, Rand Paul and even this Ed Stack come to mind what you see is what you get and that is refreshing if you are in the position to get to know the run of the mill politician whether you would vote for them or not. There are a number of classes of really unsavory people and the professional politician is one of those classes.

  3. Recently Sportsman’s Warehouse announced that they are opening several new stores in former Field and Stream locations. I visited the Washington, PA location recently and they are discounting anything “Field and Stream” at least 10% with other markdowns, most of which appeared to be more. A few modern sporting rifles had already arrived and I saw a sign announcing that more were on the way. As an aside it appeared that Mr. Stack’s ban extended to any precision rifle with a predominantly metal stock, even those with bolt actions and 5-10 shot magazines. Apparently he thinks the Second Amendment is about hunting except he was selling buck shot in areas where it is illegal for hunting.

    Mr. Stack simply defrauded stockholders of $5 Million in merchandise and much more in sales to virtue signal, promote his book, and possibly “support” his Presidential ambitions.

  4. Sorry I don’t cast ballots for Dicks or Leftists,he certainly is one of these and most likely the other as well,Eff Dick,Ed and Jim Bob.

  5. The Libertarian Party is no longer libertarian. It’s just Democrat Lite. At this point, no US political party embraces libertarian principles.

  6. It’s very difficult to run for president as a “third party candidate.” That’s why so many of these corporate clowns go nowhere and never even make it on the ballot. That’s why none of the 100 or so FEC-registered political parties that are not the Democrats or Republicans ever goes anywhere. Sure, they may score a city council or possibly a stray state legislative seat once in a while; but they don’t win any sizable numbers anywhere and they don’t take top offices anywhere. There are rare exceptions, of course, but even then they tend not to accomplish much once in office. This Dick fellow is basically running a publicity stunt which could morph into a vanity candidacy signifying nothing.

  7. I started to tell the outdoors men and women what Ed Stack really is and my comment was erased! What happpened to Freedom of Speech? Evidently the entire Dick’s Management are misguided, uneducated, and emotionally fueled IDIOTS! Ed Stack is financially where he is today primarily because of the Hunters, Target Shooters and Outdoor Men and Women! If he thinks he even has a very remote chance of successfully runnling against President Donald Trump, he is more delusional than he obviously already is! I would find it very entertaining and humorous watching him make a fool of himself! Walt Premru

  8. We haven’t voted in a third party Presidency in over a hundred years (Teddy Roosevelt). Historically, all a strong third party run achieves, is end up handing the presidency to the Democrats, because it splinters the Conservative voting bloc (Ross Perot the most recent). Rarely, is there any more than a token group of loony leftists that leave the Liberal Fold. I’m sure Stack has a group of fellow dicks that are singing his praises, but the reality of his unilateral business decisions are biting him in the arse, and it will only get worse. I cancelled my Field n Stream and Outdoor Life subscriptions when Dick’s first pulled their initial anti 2nd Amendment horsesh*t. Seriously, I don’t see Stack making a dent in the coming election. His business decisions, while lauded by the Left, are in reality just virtue signaling to bring in the tree huggers and bunny fornicators. I don’t know for sure, but I’d be willing to bet he’s the majority stockholder of all the corporate spider web of Dick’s and its affiliated stores and publications, and as such he’s relatively immune to a force out by the other stockholders (Same thing for the Walton family ie Walmart and Sam’s Club). Too bad, because the lesser stockholders will lose money, but the head dick of Dick’s will still be filthy rich.
    What would be great to see, would be a total manufacturer’s boycott of Dick’s and Walmart. Gun, Ammo and Accessory manufacturers refusing to sell them their products at any price. Then we’d see Dick’s do an about face. Walmart, no they won’t but they’re way more diversified in products than Dick’s, they’ll absorb the loss and introduce Sam’s Choice Shotguns, Rifles and Ammo made in Asian Sweat shops.

    • “We haven’t voted in a third party Presidency in over a hundred years (Teddy Roosevelt).”

      We have never voted in a third part canidate since the start of the two party system. Roosevelt was a Repulbican until he ran for the Progressive party in 1912. In that election what you described is exactly what happened.

  9. If I were a Dick’s shareholder I would love to sue the SOB for not making decisions in the best interest of the shareholders.

    • Stack and his family control a majority of shares, so short term not much can be done to change corporate policy. Long term, the value of all shares are of lower value than a few years ago and may go lower still as more customers refuse to shop there.

      This man has forgotten who his customers were. This can be turned around, but probably requires another person in charge.

  10. I have never purchased any item from his store and have not gon into one since he did away with his largest sporting goods items mainly guns and ammo. I would never vote for an idiot like he is due to his stance on guns . What made America.God,Guts and Guns.

  11. This man knows he has no more chance of becoming president than I do. He’s running either because he craves attention or, more likely, to sell his book. When someone files frivolous lawsuits they risk a charge of abuse of process. There should be a similar offense for stunts like this. Especially when, if he can get enough signatures on a petition, he can get the government to help fund his campaign.

  12. I think it would be great if Mr. Dickless tried to run for Presidency. He does not have a chance in hell, and it would be fun to watch him make a fool out of himself on a national platform. And, much like Ross Perot did in the 90’s, Dickless here can siphon off votes from other Democratic, President-wanna-be’s, and in effect (like Perot did for Clinton), ensuring a Trump win in 2020.

    • Perot had a great shot at being the first 3rd party winner. But he bailed out over nasty crap aimed at his children. A short time later he got back in but he lost probably half his support with that stunt.

      Hell of a shame, would have loved to see the two party machinery derailed for a change.

      • I voted for Perot twice. Contrary to popular myths, that did not cost any other candidate shit, If he had not been there I would have stayed home.

  13. I hope that Fast Eddy spends the fortune his father accumulated on a Presidential run it will be good for the economy.

  14. Every time I hear this tale of Slimy Slippery Drippy Dick Ed Stack destroying 5 million dollars worth of inventory, I say “show me the BATF destruction logs”.

    Dick’s Sporting Goods was not only an FFL, but because of their size, and buying power, a distributor as well. That means they bought most of their stock from the manufacturers directly, and avoided the distributor mark-up.

    We all know that the ATF takes a dim view of letting inventory disappear without all the requisite paperwork. Remember how hard they came down on Stag Firearms for leaving stripped lower receivers lying around for too long without serializing them? They essentially forced the owners to sell the company to new management.

    Here’s what I think happened;
    Dick’s either hired someone to strip those AR15’s down to their component parts or did it in house, replete with non-disclosure agreements for all involved. All of those upper receivers, stocks, grips, forends, sights, barrels and bolt carrier groups, and fire control components then made their way into the stream of commerce with no one the wiser. How many online retailers are there selling AR15 component parts? Hundreds, if not thousands I’d wager. If some jobber comes to you with new AR parts for a good price are you going to turn them away?

    Dick’s is/was known for their sky high prices on firearms, and I’m certain that 5mil figure was the full asking price of their inventory, and an inflated figure at that.

    Let’s assume the rifles retailed between $750-800. At 750-800 a rifle, that’s 6250-6665 stripped receivers. At a wholesale cost of say, $50 each, between $312,500 and $333,250 That’s a significant sum of money, but it’s no where near 5 million dollars.
    Stag Arms was forced to forfeit more than 3000 stripped lowers, with no back end to recover their loss.

    Stack gets to virtue signal, and it costs him less than 10 percent of what he claims.It wouldn’t surprise me in the least. I’d certainly expect it from someone who wants to enter politics.

    Hey Dan Z, TTAG should file a Freedom of Information Act request with the BATF for those destruction logs

  15. Oh Yeah..Lets vote in a President that’s proven to cave to Socialists, & quick to violate the 2nd Amendment.
    Mr.Ed would suck as a President


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