Wal-Mart resists pressure on gun sales

The retailer has withstood similar criticism for years. Many locations have sold out of semi-automatic rifles since last week's Connecticut school shooting.

By Jonathan Berr Dec 20, 2012 11:09AM
Wal-Mart store in Secaucus, New Jersey / Jin Lee/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesWal-Mart (WMT), the world's largest retailer, is resisting pressure to curtail sales of semi-automatic weapons similar to the ones used in last week's massacre at a Connecticut elementary school.

Freedom Group, the corporate owner of Bushmaster, the maker of the weapon used by Sandy Hook Elementary killer Adam Lanza, gets about 13% of its sales from Wal-Mart, which is probably the one of the biggest sellers of firearms and ammunition in the country.

Many Wal-Mart locations have sold out of semi-automatic rifles since the school shooting, Bloomberg reports. The company's website says several guns are out of stock in five states. Prices for gun magazines were reportedly surging on eBay (EBAY), according to the news service.

Wal-Mart sells modern sporting rifles, the term the industry uses to describe weapons similar to the M-16 used by the military, in about 1,200 locations and does not sell high-capacity magazines for these weapons, according to Bloomberg. The news service quotes spokesman David Tovar as saying, "We remain dedicated to the safe and responsible sale of firearms in areas of the country where they are sold."

Sales of guns and ammunition have surged in the days after the Dec. 14 incident as buyers worried about a crackdown by President Barack Obama, who on Wednesday asked Vice President Joe Biden to lead a task force on gun violence that will issue recommendations by next month. It seems likely that a new assault weapons ban will head to a vote in the Congress in the coming months that the political powerful gun lobby will have difficulty stopping.

Gun control advocates can't overplay their hand. Attacking Wal-Mart too aggressively for selling guns to people legally able to buy them could turn the retailer into a martyr for the Second Amendment. Customers will rally around the retailer, like people did when Chick-fil-A was attacked for its views on gay rights, and buy even more firearms and ammunition. Gun critics should ask themselves whether they prefer that people buy weapons through a multinational company which is accountable for its actions or a gun show dealer where restrictions are not as stringent.

Wal-Mart has to be careful as well. Perhaps the company believes that pressure to curtail gun sales, which includes an online petition, will die down as the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary fades from people's memories. That would be a mistake.  The slaughter of 20 children and six educators is forever etched in the nation's consciousness. 

--Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks.  Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.

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Tags: Guns
279Comments
Dec 20, 2012 5:36PM
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Then The Media Glorifies these Shooter, Murderers, Make MOVES about it.   They Should Not even Mention them as a Popular person, KEEEEEP Showing their Pictures.   So Some other Nut Can Say HAY, I want to Be that guy, I Scored 20 Gazillion Kills On Warlock Bla Bla Game Ya.  I want to be that Glorified .   I Don't have A Job or any Responsibilities Why Not Go Nuts,  Then I will Be Famous and they will Make Movies About what I did.    These Media People Are to Blame Big-time.  Yet Hide Behind What they Cause Like it is Not done by them.  Hollywood and these Stupid A## TV Shows,  All About Shooting and Killing People, Cop Shows, CSI, ALL These DUMB A##  DEMORALIZING CRA###.  It's Become Just as Bad as The Housewive,Slu##s of Wherever,  Glorify No Morals, Or Pretend to;; Be RIGHT.   Oh Ya then Them Bitches will pull out a Gun,  Like A REAL GUN KNOW IT ALL.
Dec 20, 2012 5:21PM
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They Need to Bann These Dam Kill Video games that are SO Realistic.  I see the Commercials on  some of what's out there and it is Ridiculous.   These Kids SIT at Home and PLAY these, Become ADDICTED TO THEM.    Have No Teachings of Getting A JOB.  And Mom and Dad,  if there are 2 Parents.   Just promote the Laziness So THEY Can  Take the Easy Way out.   Spoiled Rotten Kids,  Just Throw Money at them and Everything will be ok.  WELL  No  That Don't Work.   That STUPID MOTHER.  Why Not Buy A Gun safe for a few hundred dollars, Instead of Letting some Sick Kid Have Access to them.  SHE WAS 1 Idiot Mother,  It's too bad she is dead . She Could face all the Parents of lost kids to answer their Questions.  SOME MOTHER SHE WAS.  AND WHERE IS THE FATHER???????   SOME DAD HE IS.    Is He That Much of A WEASEL D##K, He Must Be.   ALL THE BLAME IS ON THAT IDIOT MOTHER, and Her Lack of Concern for Other People. 
Dec 20, 2012 5:20PM
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So what I get from the media is that. On December 14 2012 an AR-15, not just the really the crazy person. decided to shoot  and kill some of the teachers and students a Sandy Hook elementary school. People kill people, the gun doesn't make the decision to fire the round at something. Lets ban dogs for killing people or better yet cars.
Dec 20, 2012 5:20PM
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America is sick!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What about those children and all the children that has lost their lives to people like you who buy the AR-15! or any type that will be put in the hands of your children to kill. Those people are hurting that has lost their babies and friends. I pray all of you that are hatful in writing and sounding so proud of your weapons don't have to attend your son or daughters services that their life was taken by someone just like you who thought this could never happen to them.
Dec 20, 2012 5:19PM
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Steve7050, You must really think that this will never happen to you. Let your kids(if you have any)move to detroit,memphis,los angeles,pheonix etc and put a sign in there yard  that says "not a gun in this house" and watch what happens. Open your eyes man. Its going to be a snowball effect. When the semi autos go and crazy people start killing with pistols then they will go. Then shot guns, then single shot weapons, then pellet guns. But criminals will still have them!! Dont you see???
Dec 20, 2012 5:16PM
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About killing and banning, lets see, the number of deaths from alcohol related accidents per year: 38,000 nationally. The number of gun related deaths, about 2500 nationally. I don't see anyone screaming to ban alcohol, nor cars for that matter, since the weapon of choice for an "impared" person is a 3000 lb piece of plastic and steel. Impared, like not mentally capapable of making a good decision. The mother of the kid who did the deed, she was ultimately responsible. Here's what I recommend: add a new question to the application: IS THERE ANYONE IN THE HOME WITH A MENTAL DISABILITY OF ANY KIND? yes, well then, no gun for you. If the person lies and a crime is comitted with  the owner's weapon, guess what? no only is the perp gettin it, but so are you, you are responsible. After all, that's what it is really about, RESPONSIBILITY. Nobody wants to take RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR ACTIONS ANY MORE. BLAME SO-AND-SO. It wasn't my gun that killed those kids, so WHY should I have my rights taken away? Same principle applies to God in this country, so and so doesn't believe so SUPREME COURT says, well, you can't speak of it. It interferes with their rights. WHAT ABOUT MY RIGHT TO WORSHIP in what ever capacity I see fit, in accordance with the BIBLE at least. 30 round clips, why do you need them? simple, mobs are rarely less than 20. Look at what happened in DEARBORN, MI. The more people out of work, the more crime and hunger. STOP FEEDING OTHER COUNTRIES AND START TAKING CARE OF YOUR OWN OBAMMA AND CONGRESS.
Dec 20, 2012 5:13PM
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this needs to become law ,so those automatic weapons arent sold
Dec 20, 2012 5:11PM
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The 2008 Supreme Court case shows definitively that the Second Amendment is about an archaic issue relevant to 1790, not to 2012. The Second Amendment reads as follows:

"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

The purpose of the Second Amendment was to prevent the new Federal Government established in 1789 from disarming the state militias and replacing them with a Federal standing army. It was a concern that was relevant perhaps for a few years around the birth of the country. It is irrelevant today. Americans do not rely on state militias in 2012 for our freedom from the federal government.

Though Justice Antonin Scalia tried in the majority opinion to use the Second Amendment to defend gun rights, the many sources that he cited are clear that the purpose of the amendment was to protect state militias. One source, for example, , that the purpose of the Second Amendment is "to secure a well-armed militia... ." Another source Scalia cited indicates that the amendment covers only arms that "have some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia."

Dec 20, 2012 5:08PM
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so the moron in Ill. said they were going to tax guns and ammo to fund some kinda horse sh!t .now in all their intellect i'm sure that estimated revenue has been figured into a budget. so now , if some guns are restricted, there's a hole in the revenue forecast . Oh !  Wait  they can raid Social Security . woops silly me  I forgot
Dec 20, 2012 5:06PM
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a gun did not kill anyone a mentally ill child took those people's lives. if you use the incident above as a basis on reaction then the following should happen:

1 planes should be banned because two people slammed them into the world trade center towers killed how many thousands.

2 trains should be banned because it ran over and killed a man just weeks ago.

3 tractor trailers should be banned because yesterday one killed a lady on the highway in long island NY

what I am getting at is people cause these problems and it is getting worse everyday, we have to find out what is causing this anger in people to drive them to do these things!

Just for the record I AM NOT A GUN ADVOCATE ! I just want everyone to wake up and see what is going on around them, and more gun control will not solve it. The people who want to hurt others will always find a way to do so.

Dec 20, 2012 4:56PM
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DUE TO THE PRICE INCREASE ON AMMO,THERE WILL BE NO WARNING SHOTS!
Dec 20, 2012 4:55PM
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The president is sworn to uphold the laws of the country.  Congress passes the laws and he signs them into law.  When government takes away our rights--the courts decide the issue.  The courts have said we can own and have guns.  Taxing weapons and ammunition is okay.  But, if a poor person says the government is taxing weapons and ammo to the point he can't afford them--the courts will throw it out. 

Owning a gun is not subject to the president, nor can he do anything without Congressional approval.  If you don't want gun control or ammo control--vote!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dec 20, 2012 4:48PM
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Liberals are salivating at the prospect of more controls over the Great Unwashed.  Rahm Emanuel said, "Never let a serious crisis go to waste."
Dec 20, 2012 4:48PM
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"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them (because) no problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive." Albert Einstein

Dec 20, 2012 4:47PM
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I am a combat Viet Nam Veteran, survivor of two tours. I feel that my knowledge of weapons, and their safe use taught to me by NRA instructors in my youth, helped me survive the horrors i endured in Viet Nam. I, like the the rest of the world, am horrified by the actions of a maniac at the Sandy Hook Elementary school. I feel that if the principle, the first person shot, and a hero for keying the intercom, could have prevented this horror if he had been allowed to have a gun. He knew when the door was broken into, that the children were in danger. If he had a gun he he could have protected himself and all of the innocent people who were killed.. Help for the mentally ill and disturbed people is more of an answer than gun control. Learning how to secure your legally owned weapons and doing it would also help. Join the NRA and learn how.
Dec 20, 2012 4:44PM
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In the wake of a national tragedy liberals to propose gun control measures sure to infringe on our second amendment rights. This is feed to us as simply making the world a safer place. The conservatives that are so concerned about gun control and our second amendment rights had no problem with infringing on the fourth and sixth amendments with the passing of the Patriot Act in 2001 in order to make the world a safer place.

 

In the end we will all see our rights slowly eroding, but we allow it if the shepherds of your flock propose the changes.

 

The Bill of Rights was written so sentiment wouldnt play a role our rights and liberties.

Dec 20, 2012 4:43PM
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HITLER WROTE:

THE BEST WAY TO CONQUER A COUNTRY IS TO DISARM IT!!!!!

I SAY - - - THE BEST WAY TO KEEP OBAMA AND HILLARY FROM DESTROYING IT IS:

KEEP YOUR GUNS -  BUY A FEW EXTRA ROPES - - AND PLANT MORE OAK TREES CLOSE TO WASHINGTON D.C.   !!!!!!!!!

Dec 20, 2012 4:42PM
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I think all these people screaming for the right to own assault rifles are nothing but the weakest and most scared part of our population, and the most ignorant.  Do you honestly think you will ever have to take up arms against our own government? Our military is made up of people like me and you and your next door neighbor. Do you really think they would turn their guns on us?  Wow...sorry I can't live like that big a pussie!
Dec 20, 2012 4:42PM
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Where's the petition - I want to sign today...and I will not be shopping at Wal-Mat again until they take these off of their shelves.
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