For a long time in Champaign, my local Dick’s Sporting Goods was about the only place one could go to hold a gun in their hands. Sure, there were local gun stores, but they were few & far between, and the hours were typically less-than-doable for someone who works as much as I do. It’s not overstating to say that, at one point in time, I actually liked Dick’s. I knew a few of the guys who worked behind the Gun Counter and would sometimes pop in just to say “Hey!” and catch up on anything new from the gun world.
They typically carry a decent selection of ammunition and their firearm selection is … so-so. It’s not the worst, but far from even competing with the best. Where I really loved shopping Dick’s was their Hunting gear. They always had my size, and always had really good deals, plus, with their rewards program, considering how much $$ i’d spend every hunting season on new gear, I always got quite a few gift certificate rewards that I could go redeem for free ammunition…not a bad deal no matter how you slice it.
I started to detect something was amiss when my wife and I made a trip to Dick’s two days after the December 2012 Sandy Hook Shooting. Having seen how politicians love to politicize still warm bodies to push an agenda, I knew a push for a ban on guns was coming, and the inevitable storm and fury that followed would be gun owners, nation wide, buying everything in sight, for fear it might just not be there tomorrow. (A very valid feeling – one I shared deeply)
However, when arriving at Dick’s, I noticed they had significantly increased the price of .22lr. A box of 555 which normally ran in the $20.00 range, was now marked up to $49.99. WTF? The counters of .223 were empty, 9mm, like .22lr, saw a price increase on pre-existing inventory. I was, for lack of a better phrase, seriously pissed off and, sadly, things only got worse from there.
Giving in to yuppie progressive PC nonsense, Dick’s Sporting Goods gave one big, giant, middle finger to their loyal fan base. Dicks’ had ran a special on an AR-15 from Troy Industries (you probably remember it…). This Black Friday special was so popular, Dick’s stores, nationwide, sold out in a matter of hours, and began taking customer’s money for backorders. Now, insert a few gun-hating bigots into the equation, falsely conflating a tragedy to the lawful ownership of an AR-15, and Dick’s Sporting Goods began canceling all previously paid-for orders and issuing refunds, claiming it was out of respect for the families who lost loved ones.
That was it for me, and even though they’re building a fancy new location out at Market Place Mall (a gun free zone!) I will never return.