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Walmart has once again come under tough criticism from anti-gun advocates, this time because it has been selling t-shirts online that promote pro-gun sentiments just days after the mass shooting at its El Paso, Texas, store by a white nationalist domestic terrorist that resulted in the deaths of 22 people.

By the end of the day yesterday, it appeared that Walmart had taken down the offending items from its site.

One of the slogans promoted on the shirts: “Gun control is being able to hit your target.” Another one suggested that people have a choice - be gun owners or be targets.

The shirts were actually being sold on the Walmart site by third party vendors, according to reports.

Advertising Age writes that there were a range of reactions to the shirts, with some calling them “disgusting” and “horrifying,” and another saying that “most people in the country completely agree with the sentiment of this shirt.” This, the story suggests, “is only the latest consequence of the shootings for Walmart: last week, it removed signage around violent video games.” Walmart, while it has eliminated a lot of gun sales from its stores over the years, has thus far said it has no plans to eliminate all gun sales, no matter how much pressure it receives.

The story notes that “it’s not the first time Walmart has gotten into hot water for controversial t-shirts for sale on its website. The retailer felt heat in 2017 after a third-party seller offered t-shirts that suggested killing journalists. The t-shirts read: ‘Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some assembly required.’ Last year, its website offered t-shirts from third-party sellers with ‘IMPEACH 45’ emblazoned across the front in big capital letters - a call to bring down the 45th U.S. president, Donald Trump.”
KC's View:
It seems to me that there is objectively a difference between inciting violence and calling for a constitutional action. (Though I’m sure there are those who would argue the opposite.) I also think there is something called timing … and the pro-gun t-shirts on Walmart’s site were a case of lousy timing. (Though I’m sure there are those would would argue the opposite.)

Let’s give Walmart the benefit of the doubt here … they were being sold by third-party sellers, and it may not even have occurred to them to take them off the online marketplace. I do think that removing them, even if belatedly, was the right move.

This is only going to get uglier. There continue to be news reports about people calling in threats against Walmarts around the country, and I wouldn’t blame anyone for being skittish about going certain places because they fell like they have a target painted on their backs.

The question is, when will the next domestic terrorist attack come, and where.

Not if.