Groupon decided that ideology was more important than profits and halted offering any discount coupons related to guns or the gun industry such as training programs. They may be having second thoughts. According to Julie Mossler, a company spokesman, “The category is under review following recent consumer and merchant feedback.” That’s a nice way of saying “We think we have made a helluva mistake, and we’re reconsidering our decision.”

The company’s stock opened back in November 2011 at a little over $30 a share. A week ago it was at $5.30. Yesterday it closed at $4.90.

Dick’s Sporting Goods made a similar decision following the Sandy Hook shooting, halting sales of “military-style” rifles similar to the one that wasn’t used in that shooting.  Back in September it’s stock was trading at almost $55 a share. Yesterday it closed at $48.10.

Walmart said it was temporarily halting reordering ammunition, letting its stores sell out of whatever they had in stock. I checked a local store a couple of days ago, and the shelves were mostly empty. But they are more customer-sensitive than Dick’s or Groupon, and are still selling rifles at about 1,200 of their 4,000 stores. It’s stock has risen slightly.

I think Groupon and Dick’s have made a grievous error. They have offended hard-core gun owners who have long memories. As Gary North noted,

Groupon is politically irrelevant — a symbol of futility on this issue.  This sort of thing simply reinforces the gunnies’ commitment to stand firm  against symbolic knew-jerk responses to the Brady Bunch…

The country is divided between those voters who own guns, and who are  single-issue voters, and those Americans who don’t like guns, but whose  political commitments are diffused. They are not committed to in the  way that gun owners are committed to the Second Amendment.

Every gun purchase reinforces the commitment of the buyer to his cause. There  is no comparable reinforcement for gun haters.

This is war. Supporters of the Second Amendment, especially those who have done their homework on the history of gun confiscation, know it. They’ll remember. Groupon will become irrelevant. Rick’s will suffer lost sales from gun owners, permanently. Their stock prices will suffer. Their investors will suffer.

 

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