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.
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.
More from Money Now
COLUMBINE STUDENT'S FATHER 12 YEARS LATER !!
Guess our national leaders didn't expect this. On Thursday,
Darrell Scott, the father of Rachel Scott, a victim of the Columbine High
School shootings in Littleton, Colorado, was invited to address the House
Judiciary Committee's subcommittee. What he said to our national
leaders during this special session of Congress was painfully truthful.
The following is a portion of the transcript:
"Since the dawn of creation there has been both good & evil in the
hearts of men and women. We all contain the seeds of kindness or the seeds
of violence. The death of my wonderful daughter, Rachel Joy Scott, and the
deaths of that heroic teacher, and the other eleven children who died must
not be in vain. Their blood cries out for answers.
"The first recorded act of violence was when Cain slew his brother
Abel out in the field. The villain was not the club he used.. Neither was it
the NCA, the National Club Association. The true killer was Cain, and the
reason for the murder could only be found in Cain's heart.
"In the days that followed the Columbine tragedy, I was amazed at
how quickly fingers began to be pointed at groups such as the NRA. I am not
a member of the NRA. I am not a hunter. I do not even own a gun. I am not
here to represent or defend the NRA - because I don't believe that they are
responsible for my daughter's death. Therefore I do not believe that they
need to be defended. If I believed they had anything to do with Rachel's
murder I would be their strongest opponent.
I am here today to declare that Columbine was not just a
tragedy -- it was a spiritual event that should be forcing us to look at
where the real blame lies! Much of the blame lies here in this room. Much of
the blame lies behind the pointing fingers of the accusers themselves."
So I am here to say that just because I don't want our personal rights taken away with gun control does NOT in any way make me insensitive to what happened to those poor poor children and their families. If Someone like Mr. Scott (God Bless Him) can say these difficult words, I think I can as well. Shame on the people that are using this tragedy to get their agenda passed.
Some mentally disturbed person, steals a gun from his irresponsible mother whom if fact showed him how to use the weapons (illegally) and kills her. Then sets out on a killing spree, which was a tradatigy in itself. Now, supposedly over the coming end of the world 12-21-2012. Now all the doomsayers want all the guns taken away which is ridiculous. (more than likely Obama supporters) If the ill-fated TiTanic sunk last week, what would they seek? go out and blow up all the ice-bergs. Or, even outlaw ocean liners. I commend Wal-Mart, not to succumb to these chicken little doomsayers!
Bought me 2 last night as an early Xmas gift to myself... I even wrapped 1 and put it under the tree so I can have a "surprise" Xmas day.
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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market is little changed at midday with participants not showing much willingness to step in ahead of the 14:00 ET release of the FOMC minutes from the July policy meeting. The S&P 500 (+0.1%) sits just above its flat line with five sectors showing gains, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.2%) outperforms. Small-cap stocks have not been as fortunate with the Russell 2000 (-0.5%) spending the first half of action below its flat line.
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