The PJ Tatler

When it Comes to Guns, What Will Walmart Do?

One of our readers sent the following email to Walmart, which is the nation’s largest gun retailer.

Dear Walmart; I understand that representatives from Walmart have met with Vice President Biden on the issue of gun violence. While it is appropriate to show due respect for the office, I would encourage and recommend that any proposals for Walmart to participate in actions that limit in any fashion the rights of citizens under the 2nd amendment be politely but forcefully rejected. This would include placing any limitation on sales of firearms, ammunition and related accessories beyond those presently in effect as of December 31, 2012. The proposals presently in vogue such as limiting magazine capacity or making illegal firearms with cosmetically “displeasing” attributes will do nothing to curtail or lessen firearm violence. The 2nd amendment is not about hunting and any statement that says the rights of legitimate hunters or sportsmen will not be affected is extraneous and illegitimate. I have been a long time customer of Walmart – I am approaching my 60th birthday – for many products and services. However, I will make this promise: if Walmart chooses to ignore the rights of law-abiding citizens by participating or lending support to any additional restrictions on firearm ownership, transfer, sale or use, I will choose not to be a customer. Thank you.

Walmart replied.

Dear [Name withheld],

Thank you for your recent inquiry. Walmart, like the rest of the country, has been engaged in a national dialogue about the responsible sale and regulation of firearms. We have had ongoing conversations with the Administration, Congress, Mayor Bloomberg’s office, sportsmen groups, suppliers and others to listen and share our thoughts and experiences.

Over the years we have been very purposeful about striking the right balance between serving hunters and sportsmen and ensuring that we sell firearms responsibly. In fact, we became a charter member of Mayor Bloomberg’s coalition against illegal guns and adopted the 10-point code established by the Responsible Firearms Retailer Partnership that goes beyond what the law requires. We have also spoken to the Vice President’s office to share our perspective.

We take this issue very seriously and are committed staying engaged in this discussion as the Administration and Congress work toward a consensus on the right path forward.

Walmart Customer Care

So Walmart has already sided with Mayor Bloomberg’s group. That group’s current campaign is “Demand a Plan,” which is:

  1. Require a criminal background check for every gun sold in America
  2. Ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines
  3. Make gun trafficking a federal crime, with real penalties for “straw purchasers”

If Walmart is already on board with these measures, that may be a problem for many of its customers.

The first is already required of all retail and pawn shop purchases, so it would force everyone who privately sells a gun to run a criminal background check first. The second would end up resurrecting the expired “assault weapons” ban that didn’t actually reduce gun violence. The third makes sense, but it defends on what they mean by “gun trafficking.” Depending on that definition, the first target of that measure should be the current Attorney General of the United States, whose Justice Department oversaw Fast and Furious.