Walmart Gun Ban
In a statement to associates, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said the company would institute several new measures. “After selling through our current inventory commitments, we will discontinue sales of short-barrel rifle ammunition, such as the .223 caliber and 5.56 caliber, that, while commonly used in some hunting rifles, can also be used in large-capacity clips on military-style weapons,” McMillon wrote. “We will sell through and discontinue handgun ammunition; and we will discontinue handgun sales in Alaska, marking our complete exit from handguns.”
McMillon’s lack of knowledge about guns and cartridges renders his statement borderline ludicrous; “short-barrel rifle ammunition,” “.223 caliber and 5.56 caliber,” “large-capacity clips” and “military-style weapons” all in one sentence. In choosing to discontinue these ammo sales, Walmart has “done something” that not only won’t help solve the problem of mass shootings, but further empowers those on the other side of the freedom debate to continue pushing for more restrictions and roadblocks.
In effect, Walmart’s move is just another in a long line of meaningless feel-good gestures by corporate America. They’re trying to score points with thosewho would love to see guns outlawed and confiscated; you know, like nearly all the Democratic presidential candidates for 2020. The change won’t save anyone. However, it will make practicing Second Amendment rights just a little more difficult; that goes double for low-income gun owners. I mean those who live on a fixed budget and often live in bad areas where they desperately need a gun and ammunition.
Of course, Walmart is a private company and can do whatever it wants. But by joining with anti-gun Dick’s Sporting Goods and others to tell us what kind of ammunition we should buy, or not buy, they are perpetrating a further assault on all gun owners. Specifically, the message received is, “Gun owners are bad. Virtue signalers are good.”
The Walmart decision to stop selling certain ammo gives the impression to those who know nothing about guns and freedom that buying that kind of ammunition is bad, but it’s OK to buy other kinds. Corporate America, encouraged by gun-ban advocates, continues to push a message. The message is: “Gun owners are bad and should be shunned or shamed.”
Those who hate guns and gun owners are thus good and should be celebrated. That’s a message that we must swiftly counter at every opportunity.
Ironically, Walmart’s statement that it will sell the remainder of the ammo it has in stock before discontinuing sales shows that company officials know it won’t make a difference—or more important than “saving lives” is that the last little bit of profit they might gain from selling current inventory. After all, selling such ammo is bad, isn’t it?
Corporate Culture Change
A largely underreported portion of McMillon’s statement shows another side of the Walmart culture change that is equally disturbing. Later in the letter, McMillon called for the federal government to further restrict the Second Amendment rights of the same law-abiding gun owners his company just inconvenienced with the ammo decision. “We encourage our nation’s leaders to move forward and strengthen background checks and to remove weapons from those who have been determined to pose an imminent danger,” he said. In saying that, McMillon completely ignores the fact that most criminals get their guns by illegal means. He also signals his support for so-called “red flag” laws; most of those laws allow for the confiscation of a citizen’s firearms with no due process as guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.
McMillon continued: “We do not sell military-style rifles, and we believe the reauthorization of the assault weapons ban should be debated to determine its effectiveness.” As we all know, the so-called Assault Weapons Ban, signed into law by Bill Clinton, was a huge failure. A study of the ban, mandated by Congress, stated that “the banned weapons and magazines were never involved in more than a modest fraction of all gun murders,” and concluded, “Should it be renewed, the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.”
In response to the Walmart announcement, the NRA released a strongly worded statement. It called Walmart’s decision what it really was—political pandering. “The strongest defense of freedom has always been our free-market economy,” the statement said. “It is shameful to see Walmart succumb to the pressure of the anti-gun elites. Lines at Walmart will soon be replaced by lines at other retailers who are more supportive of America’s fundamental freedoms.”
The statement continued: “The truth is, Walmart’s actions today will not make us any safer. Rather than place the blame on the criminal, Walmart has chosen to victimize law-abiding Americans. Our leaders must be willing to approach the problems of crime, violence and mental health with sincerity and honesty.”
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) released a much milder statement. It resonated as odd and somewhat alarming. “While we are disappointed by Walmart’s announcement … the NSSF appreciates Walmart’s continuing commitment to America’s hunters and recreational target shooters and their equipment needs, as sportsmen and women represent tens of millions of responsible gun owners in this country.”
In light of that statement, it’s important to note something. That “something” is that handgun and modern sporting rifle owners also represent tens of millions of responsible gun owners. The NSSF ignoring that fact could be misconstrued by some as the group believing otherwise; although I’m nearly certain that’s not the case. What’s really troublesome about the NSSF statement, however, is how it concluded: “For those who believe in a better way, who believe in both protecting innocent lives and respecting rights, join us in finding common ground.”
Of course it’s possible to believe in protecting both lives and rights, and that’s where most law-abiding gun owners stand! But since the Walmart gun ban won’t protect innocent lives or respect our rights, that statement seemed out of place.
With continued pressure from all sides—gun-ban advocates, gun-hating politicians and large corporations that disrespect gun owners and the Second Amendment—we are closer to losing our right to keep and bear arms than ever before. We must become engaged in the battle for our rights every day on an individual basis. Either that or we’re going to see gun bans, “buybacks” and other extremely harsh prohibitions in our lifetimes—not just in the lifetimes of our children and grandchildren.