Giant Sporting Goods Retailer This Morning Saying It Will Stop Selling Assault-Style Rifles

With Congress Floundering On Gun Control, Major Corporations Continue To Lead The Way, Riding A Surprising Wave Of Momentum

Dick’s Sporting Goods in making the announcement today saying simply: “We don’t want to be part of a mass shooting.” The store will stop selling assault style rifles altogether, and any gun to anyone under the age of 21.

The CEO and the son of the chain’s founder, Edward Stack, attributed his decision directly to the efforts of the Parkland students in Florida. “We love these kids and their rallying cry ‘enough is enough.’ It got to us”, he told the New York Times.

Here’s a video clip of Stack’s appearance this morning on ABC’s Good Morning America:

The Times points out Dick’s made a similar move after Sandy Hook, but then started carrying those types of guns again a few months later. This time, the CEO says, the move is permanent.

The company, headquartered just outside of Pittsburgh, is the 2nd or 3rd largest sporting goods retailer in the country, after Bass Pro Shops bought Cabela’s late last year. Walmart is number one. The Times also points out Walmart quietly stopped selling high power rifles in its stores about a year and a half ago. But Walmart said it was purely a business decision, due to a drop in consumer demand, and had nothing to do with pressure from gun control advocates.




Come Election Day, Gun Control Could Benefit Radical Right, Especially If It’s “Same Old Story” For Democrats And Young People Where They Start Fighting Amongst Themselves And Don’t Vote

Those of you hoping for fast action this week from Congress are probably already sorely disappointed. While several Republicans individually talked big last week about common-sense changes, now that they’re all back together, they’re backing off every which way.  (Which is why we all need to turn out in DC on March 24 if we can, to support the Parkland students and protect the momentum they’ve created).

With that in mind, let’s focus on the gun debate’s potential impact on the midterms this fall, when every seat in the House of Representatives is potentially up for grabs. Public opinion is changing, so slam dunk for Democrats, right? Not so fast…

Republicans already have one “good” issue to run on: their tax cuts. As long as the economy is strong and the stock market is up it’s going to be hard to argue they’re bad. And now they may have a 2nd “good” issue: guns. That’s right: nothing stirs passion within the radical right electorate as a threat to their guns.

Guns may even be a better issue than tax cuts. Because face it, fiscal policy isn’t really going to get anybody out of bed come Election Day. Guns will. On both sides.

As the New York Times reports, Democrats in swing states, who always had to walk a fine line, are now finding themselves more able to ally themselves with anti-gun forces. But that strategy will only work out if the folks rallying against guns right now vote in November. If they do, the radical right can’t win*. There are many more Democrats and young people out there. But the reason for the asterisk is the passion, momentum and numbers have to be there come Election Day.

And it’s especially important this year. Here’s why:

A lot of the more moderate or “common sense” Republicans have taken themselves out of the running this fall, meaning if Democrats can’t flip the House or Senate, even if they win a few more seats, the Republicans across the aisle are going to be a lot more radical.

In the meantime, it may be more important to keep an eye on individual states than Capitol Hill. As fivethirtyeight reports, the Parkland massacre could lead to the passage of stricter gun laws in blue states, and stymie laws expanding gun ownership in red states. But it also points out that following a violent incident, states in the past have often loosened gun laws, not tightened them. That happened in a big way in Arizona, after Representative Gabby Giffords was shot and nearly killed. The New York Times reported in the year after Sandy Hook, 39 new laws passed nationwide tightening gun restrictions, but 70 passed loosening them.

And that’s happening again right now in Florida, where the Trump/N.R.A.-backed proposal to arm some teachers, which by definition will mean more guns, not less, is being wildly embraced by lawmakers who are under pressure to pass something quickly.

How is that even possible? Passion and fear. The more poignant and emphatic the anti-gun movement becomes, the more mobilized and reactionary pro-gun people get. And they push back hard.

Is anything really that different this time?


AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle



Let’s Look More Closely At What’s Happening In Florida

The Republican-controlled Legislature there really had no choice but to take some action on gun laws, after 17 people were killed two weeks ago at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.


Students rally last week at the Florida Capitol (from the Miami Herald)


But almost immediately they peeled away an outright ban on assault weapons. And similar bills that just passed the House and Senate Appropriations Committees in that state are laundry lists of N.R.A.-approved tweaks, centered around Trump’s proposal for arming teachers. And that will mean more guns, not less.

The Florida legislation proposes arming 10 teachers in each school across the state. That’s 37,000 total so 37,000 more guns. The willing, and we suppose “adept” teachers would receive a one-time $500 bonus to participate. It’s unclear if that money is intended to go toward the purchase of a firearm, or if the guns will be supplied by the state separately, or if teachers will be encouraged to bring their own.

The only “break” from the N.R.A. still under consideration is raising the minimum purchase age for semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21. But state legislators are not considering closing the so-called “gun show loophole”. So while 18 year olds might no longer be able to buy that type of firearm from a licensed dealer, they’ll still be able to, without a background check, from an unlicensed dealer at a gun show.


There’s also nothing on the table to roll back laws forbidding law enforcement at the county and city level to impose stricter gun controls than those mandated by the state. Under the law on the books now, local officials can be fired and fined for trying to do that.



Judge Gonzalo Curiel, Yes That Judge Curiel, Hands Trump A Big Win On “The Wall”

The same judge Trump asserted could not rule fairly in his Trump University case because he’s “Mexican” (he’s not, he’s from Indiana) rejected a lawsuit challenging the President’s ability to order his wall constructed without an environmental impact study.

But the Judge’s ruling did contain something of a double zinger. Curiel wrote: “As fellow Indiana native Chief Justice Roberts observed….It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.”

U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel

If you’re in a nostalgic mood (and want to be infuriated), the Washington Post provided this link to a 10 minute and 47 second Trump rant against Judge Curiel, back from the campaign trail.


In an unrelated case that received little attention, Bloomberg reports the Trump Organization settled a suit charging it stiffed members at a Trump golf club in Jupiter, Florida on refunds of membership fees. The case was settled, because as we all know, “Trump never settles“. (He settled the Trump University case too).



Trump Picks His “Social Media Guy” To Honcho His 2020 Campaign 

And Brad Parscale does play three-dimensional chess. Even though he had never worked in politics prior to the 2016 campaign, he managed to far outmaneuver the Clinton campaign and contribute big to Trump’s win. Bloomberg has a great profile of Trump’s “digital guru”, and one of his most valuable assets.


Newly-named 2020 Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale



Mueller’s Team Doesn’t Leak, But They’re Sure Doing What They Can To Make It Look Like Former Trump Campaign Associate Rick Gates Is Really Spilling The Beans

Mueller made a public show of asking a court that most of the charges against Gates be dropped, now that he’s agreed to plead guilty to some of them, and cooperate.

The judge even agreed to allow Gates to take his children to Boston for the weekend, which violates a court-imposed travel limit.

Former Trump Campaign Associate Rick Gates



Kushner Security Clearance Issue Cleared Up: He’s Losing Access To Top-Secret Material

But it’s still not completely clear why Trump’s son-in-law and top adviser doesn’t pass the test.

The Washington Post suggests it might have something to do with U.S. intelligence reports identifying several countries, among them China and Israel, which discussed if they might manipulate Kushner by exploiting “his complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and lack of foreign policy experience”.


Trump Son-in-law and Adviser Jared Kushner


Kushner’s loss of access looks like a significant dip in power, but is it really? Because the President could just tell him anyway, right? As absurd as that sounds, remember Trump leaked classified information to Russians after inviting them into the Oval Office. (We are being a little facetious: this certainly will limit Kushner’s power by limiting his access to all kinds of classified documents Trump would never be bothered laying his eyes on…)



A Parting Thought…

Yesterday we told you about how Georgia’s Lieutenant Governor is leading a charge to deny Delta Air Lines, the state’s biggest employer, $40-50-million in tax breaks if they don’t reverse their decision to cut marketing ties to the N.R.A. Here’s his Tweet in case you missed it:


Which made us wonder: Atlanta beat out more than 200 other cities and made it onto the short list for the new $5-billion dollar “2nd Headquarters” Amazon is planning to build, promising as many as 50,000 high paying jobs.  How likely is it that list just got one city shorter?