Retail Chain Changes Advertising Policy On AR-15s, Background Check Policy

Retailers are taking a lot of heat if they happen to sell AR-15s, apparently. Dick’s and Walmart have completely gotten out of the AR-15 game in the aftermath of the Parkland tragedy.


While Mills Fleet Farm isn’t quite ready to join that club, it’s not exactly setting itself up as a strong advocate for the Second Amendment either.

Fleet Farm has 37 locations in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and last month the retailer quietly stopped advertising some semi-automatic rifles and their accessories, but company officials said they will still sell them.

“In response to customer input, we made the ad decision a month ago,” Derick Prelle, Fleet Farm’s chief executive, told The Star Tribune. The move follows similar actions from retailers such as Dick’s in the wake of a school shooting in Parkland, Florida that left 17 dead in February.

As of Tuesday, the only semi-auto long arms listed on Fleet Farm’s website were rimfire rifles and shotguns — none with a detachable magazine with a capacity larger than 10 rounds. The selection is mirrored in their weekly ad and new Spring Sports Catalog.

In addition to moving AR-15s and other semi-autos to the secret menu, Fleet Farm has instituted a policy not to transfer firearms until the store confirms a background check with authorities. Under federal guidelines, licensed firearms dealers can transfer a gun immediately after issuing a “proceed” authorization through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System. In cases where the FBI gives a “delay,” it is up to the dealer whether to go through with the transfer after three business days.

Now, this isn’t as bad as what Dick’s Sporting Goods pulled by any stretch of the imagination, since it seems the Fleet Farm will continue to sell AR-15s. But this is still problematic behavior by a firearm retailer.


You see, this won’t be enough for the gun grabbers, but it will be enough to let them think they can push for more.

The anti-Second Amendment activists will fight on any front they can find. Not only do they want legislation to ban the sale of such guns, but they’ll also pressure retailers not to sell them. They’ll do anything they can to make that happen, and Mills Fleet Farm just gave them the proverbial blood in the water.

Oh, they might well fly under the radar for a while. A long while, even. After all, it’s not the biggest retailer out there. Frankly, I’d never heard of it before this, so it’s possible the gun control crowd hasn’t heard of it either.

That might buy the company time.

Or, I could be wrong.

What I don’t think I’m wrong about is that pro-Second Amendment advocates, such as myself. will be less than pleased with this development. While it doesn’t impact me, there are a lot of gun owners in Fleet Farm’s AO, meaning this could bite the retailer in the hind quarter. None of us are pleased with companies that make it clear they want to appease those who would strip us of our sacred and constitutionally protected rights.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member