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Home / Business / In the wake of massacres, Walmart is pressured to stop selling weapons

In the wake of massacres, Walmart is pressured to stop selling weapons

America is once again confronting shocking illustrations of the destruction of mass shootings, and advocates devoted to quitting weapons and a wave of angry people on social media are asking Walmart to do more.

The type of gun used in Saturday's attack has not been sold at Walmart in many years. But now that the firearm has hit Walmart's own stores when customers were at school with their children, many are wondering if the company will take further steps to limit firearms sales.

"As an employer and a place where a huge population of very diverse people act, it is in Walmart's interest to repeat what it will do to ensure that it is employers and its customers," said Kris Brown, president in the gun violence prevention advocacy group Brady.

Social media users ask Walmart to stop selling firearms

The company met hundreds of social media calls to stop selling weapons altogether. On Saturday, Walmart tweeted that the company is "in shock" after the shooting and that "it is praying for the victims, the community and our staff, as well as the first responders." Many responded to the message saying that the company as a major arms dealer should not be shocked and urged it to change the guidelines.
"Hi @Walmart! This would be a great opportunity for you to take a real leadership position and stop selling guns," said actor Alyssa Milano in response to the company's tweet.

Venture capitalist and entrepreneur Chris Sacca had a similar response: "Hi @ Walmart, maybe you could, hmm, I don't know, stop selling guns?"

Such a move can make a significant difference – studies show that cutting down on the availability of firearms can reduce firearms.

Others on Twitter asked the company to stop allowing open firearms in stores, something it says in states like Texas where open carry is legal.

However, Walmart already has what many gun violence advocates consider strong gun security policies that go beyond federal requirements: it does not sell assault weapons, it does not sell to people under 21, it requires background checks, and it no longer sells toys similar to assault rifles. .

While that doesn't change policy, many believe Walmart is positioned to push lawmakers to impose stricter gun restrictions.

"There is a role to play in leadership and advocacy here," Brown said. "Walmart has already implemented these policies on their own … They've done it because they're concerned about public safety if they don't. So why wouldn't they say from a national perspective if we want people to feel safe , should these steps be taken wider? "

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And while Walmart is a big gun seller, there are many places where people can buy guns. Brown said the company should encourage other dealers to follow the lead in implementing safe firearm sales policies.

Walmart could also play a role in educating its customers about gun safety, said Texas Gun Sense president Ed Scruggs. Especially in rural communities, Walmart stores act as de-facto community houses that Scruggs said would make them sensible homes for educational programs.

"We have a problem in Texas with children and teens accessing firearms that are not properly stored," Scruggs said. "They may have free courses in the gun safety store or promote use or trigger locks or have big sales on gun drawers. Reaching out to the community may seem like a small thing, but they have an opportunity to reach many people." [19659003]

Navigating Social Issues in America in America

No matter what, if any changes Walmart decides to make, the conversation is part of a larger trend of holding corporate America accountable for addressing social issues. It is not always an easy situation for companies to navigate – taking a public stance on a question can alienate customers who disagree. Still, many large companies, often at the request of their employees, have taken that risk and addressed public inequality between races and genders and internment parties, among other issues.
Many companies became publicly involved in the fight against firearms after the shooting in Parkland last year. Denim brand Levi Strauss pledged $ 1 million to violence prevention groups and helped form a coalition of business leaders working on gun control. The founder of shoe brand Toms pledged $ 5 million to gun security organizations and launched a postcard writing campaign urging Congress to pass universal background checks. Bank of America promised to stop lending to "military style weapons" makers used by civilians.
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Dick & # 39; s Sportsing [19659024] ( DKS ) CEO Edward Stack has also been upset about his decision to change the company's arms sales policy after Parkland, at one point noting that he didn't care about the financial implications that would have.

"You know everyone talks about the thoughts and prayers that go out to them. It's great. It really doesn't do anything," Stack told CNN last year. "We felt we had to take a stand and do this."

Dick's has drawn gun sales from more than 100 stores, suggesting that the trend may continue.

Public statements like these make a difference, said Shannon Watts, founder of the firearms security group Moms Demand Action. And it may be faster and easier for large companies to introduce a new policy or public position than for legislators to draft and pass a new law.

"Getting Walmart to join the coalition of companies that are actively working on this issue, and making it a priority in their basic platform, would send a strong signal," Watts said. "Businesses have a role to play. When lawmakers don't protect their constituents, companies have a responsibility to protect their customers."

Walmart's immediate focus

Currently, about 36 hours after the attack, Walmart's policy remains the same, according to company spokeswoman Randy Hargrove. Hargrove also pointed out that the company has provided quarterly active shooting training for all employees since 2015, and that all the staff at the El Paso store that was targeted Saturday had been trained.

"We continue to be devastated by the loss of lives, and right now our focus is to support our colleagues, our customers and the El Paso community," Hargrove said.

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