Gun control: Walmart takes a stand
Walmart just put Washington’s response to gun violence to shame, said Patricia Murphy in RollCall.com. With lawmakers “missing in action,” the nation’s largest retailer is taking concrete steps to protect the public in the aftermath of last month’s horrifying mass shooting at its El Paso, Texas, store. The company announced that it will stop selling ammunition for handguns and assault-style rifles. Walmart had already taken assault-style weapons and handguns off its shelves, and now will sell only long-barreled rifles and shotguns, which are mostly used for hunting. Walmart is also asking customers not to openly carry firearms in its stores, even in states where it’s legal to do so. CEO Doug McMillon called on Congress to pass “commonsense” gun legislation, and at least debate banning assault weapons. If only Congress or the White House would show this kind of leadership.
Walmart isn’t leading, it’s retreating, said David French in NationalReview.com. In this era of “woke capitalism,” corporations no longer avoid hot-button social issues, because they risk angering customers if they don’t take public stands. And when they do, what they say tends to reflect the progressive values of the highly educated elites that fill America’s boardrooms. Walmart’s move will further fuel populist anger, said Matthew Continetti in FreeBeacon.com. “Like it or not,” many Americans keep voting for representatives opposed to strict gun control. So to circumvent democracy, liberals are now leveraging “the economic and cultural weight of America’s largest corporations.”
Actually, Walmart is following the will of the people, said Brandon Tensley in CNN.com. While conservative lawmakers continue to block meaningful gun control in the name of “real America,” polls show the majority of Americans want stricter gun laws, with 66 percent now supporting a ban on assault weapons. Sadly, our democracy has become so dysfunctional that we must depend on Walmart to regulate itself. Don’t give Walmart too much credit, said Alex Shephard in NewRepublic.com. “Once the most hated retailer in America,” Walmart is in the middle of an effort to rebrand itself as a good corporate citizen, especially compared with Amazon. Mass shootings threaten those efforts, because until recently, Walmart was part of any conversation about the gun economy. Walmart “doesn’t want to lead the gun debate. It wants to exit it.” ■