Dick’s Sporting Goods sold a gun to Nikolas Cruz.
The gun in question was not among the firearms that Mr. Cruz, who is charged with killing 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Fla., last year, is accused of using. But Edward Stack, the chief executive of Dick’s, realized that it could have been.
Shaken by the link, Mr. Stack, himself a longtime gun owner, introduced measures that made it harder to buy firearms at Dick’s stores, and he pressed Congress to adopt gun-safety measures. He aligned himself with gun-control activists; was shunned by gun sellers, buyers and firearms industry employees; and became one of the most cited names in a gun debate increasingly crowded with corporate voices.
But Mr. Stack’s outspokenness may have put pressure on his company, which sells more than just guns. On Tuesday, Dick’s said its adjusted same-store sales fell 3.1 percent in the 12 months that ended Feb. 2 compared with the comparable period a year earlier.
In the fourth quarter, which included the holiday shopping season, adjusted same-store sales were down 2.2 percent. Net income fell to $102.6 million, or $1.07 a share, from $116 million, or $1.11 a share in the year-earlier period.
Dick’s, which is based in the Pittsburgh area, did not cite any reasons for the decline. The company said it expected sales to grow beginning in the second quarter of the current fiscal year. Mr. Stack oversees 729 Dick’s Stores, 94 Golf Galaxy stores and 35 Field & Stream stores.
Dick’s stock, which dropped more than 6 percent in premarket trading on Tuesday, is up more than 20 percent since Mr. Stack decided to remove AR-15-style and other semiautomatic rifles from the company’s Field & Stream stores soon after the Parkland shooting. Stores operating under the Dick’s logo stopped selling such weapons after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in which 26 people, including 20 children, were killed.
Both chains stopped selling guns and ammunition to customers younger than 21 last year.
Mr. Stack, whose father started Dick’s in 1948, said in a recent interview that the company had “been in the gun business basically since inception.” Gun demand broadly, he said, was “under pressure” and was “going to continue to be under pressure.”
In recent months, 10 Dick’s stores conducted a test in which they replaced guns and other hunting products with batting cages, ski apparel and other sports gear. The company made the move partly because its hunting business had “deteriorated” in recent years, Mr. Stack said. The company was expected to address the results of the test on a conference call about its earnings later on Tuesday.
Many Dick’s workers disagreed with Mr. Stack’s decision to restrict gun sales, and 62 employees resigned over the new policies last year. The National Shooting Sports Foundation voted to expel Dick’s from its membership. Manufacturers like O.F. Mossberg & Sons stopped selling to the chain, although Mr. Stack said Dick’s still had access to Mossberg products through distributors.
Mr. Stack also said he had received some threats and had increased security measures meant to protect him and the company.
“People in the gun business are not terribly happy with us,” he told The Times. “They said we were toxic, which is fine with us; we’re not going to change the way we’re going.”