“The world’s largest retailer stopped selling hunting rifles and bullets at all but a third of its U.S. stores five years ago, citing diminishing sales,” The Wall Street Journal reports. “It is now restoring them to hundreds of locations, bringing the total to nearly half of its more than 3,600 U.S. namesake stores, as part of a larger push to restore ‘heritage categories’ of merchandise such as fishing rods and bolts of sewing fabric that it removed in an attempt to go upscale that backfired.” Bolt action rifles next to bolts of material? OK, fine, but—“[firearms sales] growth has been mainly in handguns, which Wal-Mart won’t carry.” The article then quotes the Violence Policy Center study claiming U.S. firearms ownership is at a historic low. Which shows the VPC’s smarts and the media’s stupidity. And here’s the kicker . . .
It voluntarily agreed to adopt stricter gun sales policies in 2008 as part of a pact with Mayors Against Illegal Guns [MAIG], a group co-founded by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Wal-Mart caved to MAIG on April 14, 2008, agreeing to follow the gun grabbers’ sub-group’s “10-point Voluntary Code.” Which is:
- Videotaping the Point of Sale for All Firearms Transactions. Participating retailers will videotape the point-of-sale of all firearms transactions and maintain videos for 6 months to deter illegal purchases and monitor employees.
- Computerized Crime Gun Trace Log and Alert System. Mayors Against Illegal Guns will develop a computerized system that participating retailers will implement over time to log crime gun traces relating to the retailer. Once the program is in place, if a customer who has a prior trace at that retailer attempts to purchase a firearm, the sale will be electronically flagged. The retailer would have discretion to proceed with the sale or stop the sale.
- Purchaser Declaration. For sales flagged by the trace alert system, participating retailers will ask purchasers to fill out a declaration indicating that they meet the legal requirement to purchase the firearm.
- Deterring Fake IDs. Participating retailers will only accept valid federal- or state-issued picture IDs as primary identification. Retailers will utilize additional ID checking mechanisms.
- Consistent Visible Signage. Participating retailers will post signage created by the Responsible Firearms Retailer Partnership to alert customers of their legal responsibilities at the point-of-sale.
- Employee Background Checks. Participating retailers will conduct criminal background checks for all employees selling or handling firearms.
- Employee Responsibility Training. Participating retailers will participate in an employee responsibility training program focused on deterring illegal purchasers. The Responsible Firearms Retailer Partnership will create an online training system based on Wal-Mart’s training program.
- Inventory Checking. Participating retailers will conduct daily and quarterly audits. Guidelines will be based on Wal-Mart’s existing audit procedures.
- No Sales Without Background Check Results.Participating retailers would prohibit sales based on “default proceeds,” which are permitted by law when the background check has not returned a result within 3 days.
- Securing Firearms. Participating retailers will maintain firearms kept in customer accessible areas in locked cases or locked to racks.
MAIG’s Responsible Firearms Retailer Partnership was a damp squib. No signage, no online training system, no website, not even a Facebook page! Ah, but does Wal-Mart videotape your gun purchase? That they do. Do they destroy the video? That we don’t know.
Last year, TTAG called the Mayor’s office last year and asked his PR guy if Wal-Mart contributed financially to MAIG or the otherwise failed Partnership. After repeated phone calls and online embarrassment, we finally got a response. “No.” Wal-Mart never returned our calls or emails.