Walmart is the largest gun dealer in the US, and it isn’t just selling hunting rifles.
The AR-15 is an assault weapon, designed to kill as many human beings as possible, and was the gun used to kill 20 children in the horrific Sandy Hook Elementary shooting last week. It’s also the gun used to kill 2 people in an Oregon mall the week before, and to kill 12 people in an Aurora, CO movie theater this summer.
The AR-15 assault rifle has no place in our communities -- but as of last week, it's being sold in over 1,700 Walmarts around the country. Walmart removed the gun from its website, but not its actual stores, and it’s still stocking other semi-automatic rifles. Will we need to wait until the next mass shooting for Walmart to take those guns off the shelves?
Tell Walmart: protect your customers - stop selling all assault weapons.
Walmart isn’t the only business re-evaluating its ties to the weapons industry in the wake of Sandy Hook. Dick’s Sporting Goods is suspending its sales of military-style automatic weapons and the massive private equity firm Cerberus Capital has decided to drop its share in the manufacturer of the AR-15.
Now that we know that Walmart is responding to the national conversation, a community coalition led by Rev. Edwin Jones of Washington, DC has asked Walmart to take assault weapons off its shelves.
There’s good reason to target Walmart. The guns and ammunition on Walmart’s shelves are already leading to bloodshed around the country. When Jared Lee Loughner shot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 18 other people in Tucson last year, he bought his ammunition at a Walmart. A young Missouri man who was arrested while planning to open fire on a screening screening of Twilight in November had purchased an AR-15 and 400 rounds of ammunition at a Walmart. Community leaders and law enforcement personnel from Indiana to Texas report that criminals can easily steal deadly weapons from Walmart display cases.
In 2008, Walmart made a deal with Mayors Against Illegal Guns to adopt tougher rules for selling assault weapons. But as racist paranoia over the election of the first Black president fueled weapons sales, Walmart’s gun business expanded dramatically. Walmart’s firearms sales grew by 76 percent in 2011, making it the largest gun dealer in the country,and in an October meeting, an Executive Vice President told shareholders that rising arms sales were a key component of the company’s marketing strategy.
Meanwhile, Walmart has contributed to efforts by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to weaken state-level gun laws.
The SumOfUs.org community knows that Walmart prioritizes short-term profit over human life -- that’s why it blocked reforms that would have prevented the death of 112 Bangladeshi workers in a factory fire. The shooting in Newtown last week was a devastating tragedy, but it’s also a chance for Walmart’s bosses to reconsider the effects of Walmart’s policies on our communities, our country, and the world.
Raise your voice now and tell Walmart to stop selling deadly assault weapons now!
"How Walmart Helped Make Newtown Shooter's AR-15 the Most Popular Assault Weapon in America," The Nation, December, 2012