How LL Bean Violates the Spirit of Not Selling Guns

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L.L. Bean said it will not sell rifles or ammunition. That is not the entire story. It still sells rifle cases and scopes. The distinction may be a fine one, but it shows how a retailer can continue to make money on guns.

L.L. Bean management tweeted:

On its website, L.L. Bean still lists a “Maine Guide Waxed-Canvas Scoped Rifle Case,” a “Swarovski Z6 Rifle Scope, Plex 2-12×50” for $1,769.00, a “Swarovski Z3 Rifle Scope, 3-9×36” for $699 and a “Swarovski Z6 Rifle Scope, Plex 1.7-10×42” for $1,639.00. All come with free shipping.

L.L. Bean’s decision to sell these items shows how a retailer can dodge the loss of revenue when it announces it will not sell guns. The retailer loses its revenue from rifles and ammunition but keeps a portion of the revenue that comes in from people who want to carry or enhance the ability of their rifles to be accurate. Granted, none of these accessories work on assault rifles. But L.L. Bean has violated the “spirit” of moving out of the gun business altogether.

Will L.L. Bean be forced out of the rifle accessory business as well? It may want to make that decision before it becomes a flashpoint.