retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Yesterday we took note of a Bloomberg report that Walmart will “discontinue sales of .223 caliber ammunition and other sizes that can be used in assault-style weapons after it sells through its inventory commitments. It will stop selling handguns in Alaska, the only state where it still sells them, and won’t offer bullets for them anywhere after its stocks are depleted. And it’s ‘respectfully requesting’ that shoppers refrain from openly carrying their firearms in its stores.”

At the same time, Kroger is asking its customers not to openly carry firearms in its stores, regardless of local laws.

While pro-gun control groups cheered the Walmart decision, the National Rifle Association (NRA) released a statement calling Walmart’s move “shameful,” saying that “lines at Walmart will soon be replaced by lines at other retailers who are more supportive of America’s fundamental freedoms.” The NRA also accused Walmart of succumbing “to the pressure of the anti-gun elites.”

I commented, in part:

The NRA seems to be taking the position that Walmart is only paying attention to “elites,” and ignoring the will of the people.

But it would be my observation that Walmart is making this move because of the will of the people, not in spite of it. If its research didn’t show that people wanted it to make this decision, then Walmart wouldn’t do it.

Maybe the NRA just isn’t used to being - forgive me - outgunned when it comes to applying political pressure.

Walmart is, in my view, making the right and responsive move here. It may be part optics, but optics often are important.

MNB reader Christopher Cash responded:

Read your article on the proposals by Walmart and Kroger and it appears you support these moves.

So my question is, precisely how does any of this virtue signaling reduce gun violence or stop any of the last 20 mass shootings? This almost entirely impacts (and hurts) law abiding citizens, particularly in Kroger's case, as the vast majority of mass shootings occur in these so called "gun free zones". And polls, which have been proven to be highly unreliable and partisan motivated, should not be used to determine public policy. Votes matter, not polls.

You’re right. I do support these moves … but I also think that both companies are making decisions based not on a desire to signal their virtue, but to assuage many of their customers and assure them that they are doing everything they can to make the world a safer place.

But I’m under no illusion that these decisions will end mass shootings, or that they will discourage domestic terrorists and/or white nationalists from pursuing their agendas.

Another MNB reader wrote:

Yes, gun control is a hot topic for everyone and needs to tie in things like mental health and cross party reasonable discussions.

While I am an NRA life member, I certainly do not agree with all they support.

I also rarely hunt as I have no one to go with currently, but do remember deer camp in VT with the greatest generation being some of the best family bonding times of my life.

While I prefer to take a photo unless I eat the game, I very much respect the hunting communities and everyone’s amendment rights. Some in my family still live their meat diet on wild game. Yes, I have a license to carry as well. Here in NH, they just made that legal for everyone. That I disagreed with, as I prefer your police chief has to sign off on your permit every few years.

Walmart’s blanket decision to stop carrying .223 ammunition is mostly a publicity stunt, as when I was hunting at various times with a shotgun, pistol or rifle, mostly pending weather, space hunted in and game hunting for; I do remember all the best deer hunters seem to carry .223 rifles.

On the other hand:

I am not sure why any guns need to look like military assault rifles instead of a hunting rifle, as they are the same outcome.

I will add that if someone needs a dozen rounds to hit something, they maybe should take up a different sport.

If ones sells a gun in a private sale, and it was properly bought and registered, I would think they would want a documented receipt too.

I will end with saying certain gun control laws in other countries have not had a good outcome.

How much is too far?

No name on this one please. Too many nuts out there, but I am protected.

Hmmmm. Should I be concerned that my name is on everything I write and say, since there are “too many nuts out there”?

If I should be, that strikes me as a pretty good reason to make some changes in the laws that govern who ought to be able to buy and own a gun.

Just as I’m under no illusion that these retailer decisions - or even action by the federal government - will end mass shootings, or that they will discourage domestic terrorists and/or white nationalists from pursuing their agendas, I’m also under no illusion that we’re going to solve this issue on MNB.

I’m only writing it from the point of view that this has become a retail issue.
KC's View: