Walmart guns

“Just over three weeks ago, two people in Pennsylvania were killed in their car with ammunition purchased at Walmart.” That’s Letitia James’ opening salvo in her nydailynews.com op-ed, Why New York’s pension funds should divest from Walmart. The New York City public advocate and New York City Employee Retirement System trustee wants the City’s 300k+ retirees to divest their several hundred million dollar stake in Walmart. Because guns. Sorry. Ammunition. And guns. To justify this recommendation, James begins her anti-Walmart polemic with a bout of bloody shirt waving . . .

Over a period of several weeks this spring, a 22-year-old man killed seven men and women in New Jersey and Pennsylvania with ammunition purchased at Walmart. And in March, a Cornell student killed his father in New York using a firearm purchased at Walmart. All this according to reports from local enforcement.

As communities across our nation continue to bleed, one thing is clear: America loves its guns, and no one sells guns better than Walmart.

One thing is clear: Ms. James is vilifying a company selling legal products legally. The fact that a statistically insignificant portion of Walmart’s gun and ammunition buyers eventually use these products illegally is interesting and regrettable, but irrelevant. Certainly no more relevant than ID’ing a car dealership that sold a car to a legal buyer who eventually drove drunk. Or used the car to commit vehicular homicide.

While New York City cannot prevent other jurisdictions from selling firearms, it has taken a powerful stance against guns by divesting pension funds from gun manufacturers.

But the city still invests heavily in gun retailers, like Walmart, that supply guns to millions of Americans that end up on our streets and around the country. In fact, the New York City pension systems collectively hold over five million shares of Walmart stock — totaling hundreds of millions of public pension dollars.

This is why, as both the city’s public advocate and a trustee of the New York City Employee Retirement System, I have formally called on all five of the city’s pension boards to immediately divest all funds from Walmart, the nation’s largest gun and ammunition retailer.

Ms. James is arguing for civilian disarmament. If we can stop people from selling guns and ammunition, we can stop people from buying them and using them illegally or for suicide (which accounts for roughly half of the quoted firearms-related homicide statistic). It’s a ridiculous argument on so many levels.

Practically speaking, America has at least 300 million guns in circulation. If Walmart disappeared tomorrow, there’d still be plenty of guns for criminals, crazies and the suicidal. Not to mention the fact that some other company would pick up the slack and sell new guns and ammo to legal customers (as is their right).

Politically speaking, Americans cherish their gun rights. Any and all anti-gun jihads are met with fierce opposition – even those mooted by a taxpayer-funded New York teachers union pension fund in a state so blue you have to wonder when it’s going to die of asphyxiation. Which is why James tries to draw a distinction between the “good” guns Walmart sells (e.g., hunting rifles) and the “bad” guns Walmart sells (e.g., “assault rifles”). Like this:

Walmart markets its gun department as “sports and outdoors,’ but let us get one thing straight: They are not just selling hunting rifles. Walmart stocks assault rifles with high-capacity magazines and ammunition. Nearly half of their U.S. stores sell guns and ammunition, and more than a quarter of all Walmart locations sell semi-automatic weapons.

It is time for us to soundly reject the notion that high-capacity magazines and military-style assault weapons have any legitimate purpose in our society. Walmart CEO Douglas McMillon has been clear that Walmart will continue to sell guns, saying that the sports and outdoors department is an integral part of the company.

And Walmart has doubled down on its shameless gun peddling by actively opposing stricter gun regulations through its political contributions. Walmart’s PAC has given millions to candidates endorsed by the National Rifle Association over the last several election cycles.

Prior to succumbing to increased public scrutiny, Walmart also supported the American Legislative Exchange Council — a conservative advocacy group that actively opposes sensible gun reform and who played a direct role in drafting Florida’s infamous “Stand Your Ground” law.

I’d almost kinda respect Ms. James’ call for Walmart divestment if it were based on moral principles. But Ms. James’ divestment campaign is entirely based on pragmatism. Like so many progressives, her desire to “improve” society (by disarming it) is motivated by a simple, amoral philosophy: the ends justify the means. Her desire to “help others” – for their own good – lacks any respect for individual choice. Or individual rights. It is a hurtful, hateful perspective.

Walmart recently made a big show out of its decision to stop selling Confederate flags. But it means nothing to stop selling symbols of hate, when they continue to sell the tools used to turn that hate into deadly violence.

If we want real change, we have to hit Walmart where it hurts: in their pocketbook. New York City must divest the hundreds of millions of dollars we have invested in Walmart for far too long, dollars that are only fueling violence and undermining the greater public interest. Once our nation’s largest city does so, I know other states and municipalities will follow suit.

Should Walmart cave to James and her bully boys, gun-owning Americans will remove their financial contribution to the company’s success. Walmart knows this. They will continue to sell firearms, just as James and her ilk will continue to attack firearms freedom in all its forms. And so it goes.

49 Responses to New York Pension Fund Targets Walmart for Gun Sales, Seeks Divestment

    • A dump of that many shares all at once might depress the value sharply. It is a very good bet wise investors will be watching for that dip and grab up all those shares in short order, driving the price right back up.

      Total effect on Walmart selling guns and/or ammo, whether or not it is ever used criminally? Absolutely ZERO.

      • Yep. I’ll be waiting to snatch up a bag-o-shares if those idiots decide to dump them and the price takes a measured drop in value.

    • The “New Walmart” is hell and gone from the days when the founder ran the place. VERY PC. Very few carry firearms around here. And a slim inventory of ammo.

      But sell Walmart stock and buy McDonalds, Solydra and whatever else Obumer wants.

      WTH is a Letitia?

    • They want to pull investment in Walmart fine some else will eagerly by that stock. I say walmarts divests from New York, and pulls its stores out of New York. See how they like the loss of guns, jobs, tax revenue.

      • The weird thing is that this .22 LR problem is pretty universal at WalMarts, but not completely. I know one store that claims to get sone in on occasion, but whenever they do, they put it out at 6, and it is gone by 6:30, even limiting purchasers to 2 or 3 boxes. And this is still going on.

  1. “Her desire to “help others” – for their own good – lacks any respect for individual choice. Or individual rights.”

    Fascism:

    “We have decided what is best for you. If you know what is GOOD for you, you will not argue with us.”

  2. I’m so disgusted that I’m going to go out of my way to shop at WalMart. Especially if I can find any more of that “evil” CCI Mini-Mag .22 LR or the “assault” Winchester 36 grain CPHP. That ammo has absolutely no place in our society. Disgusting. It belongs in my garage. And I could permit it – maybe just this once – to other responsible gun owners across the nation.

    Life is too short to avoid smokin’ deals on Wal Mart ammo.

  3. Too funny. Stores, like Walmart, generally know how to make money. Selling firearms = profit.
    As a side note, a chain specific to the northwest, Bi-Mart, has just added handguns back into their inventory. At really good prices.

    • My dad told me that this weekend. He was pretty happy to see that and confirmed that the price was better than Cabelas across town.

      I remember as a kid, a little kid at that, and heading to the gun section of Bi-Mart every time we went there. I looked over the pistols because they were right in front of my face in a nice glass case. I would look at each one and their price, wishing I had money. I remember some small .22 Auto that was $100. I wanted my mom to buy it for me and she said no. I didn’t know i was too young to buy a gun either. I thought if I saved up money I could pick it up anyway. This was back in the 80’s and it was probably a Jennings or some other piece of junk, but it was shiny!

  4. So when a violent criminal is killed by a law-abiding citizen defending himself with ammunition purchased at Walmart, I suppose the pension fund should invest in Walmart?

  5. Lets put aside the gun control aspect of this idea for a moment, this divestment idea does basically nothing to “hurt” Walmart but could be very damaging to those pensions funds. As a municipal employee (not NYC) I want my fund invested in the best performing companies possible. Dumping Walmart stock is fiscally irresponsible; it will damage the funds for which she has a fiduciary responsibility to manage and it wil not change criminal behavior in the slightest way. Progressive politics at its finest, it feels good so let’s do it…..damn the consequences.

    • That is what can happen when an individual allows his personal wealth to be managed into monopoly money. 200 hundred years ago that was warned against as it results in being comfortable in government chains, which allows for complacency leading into becoming an accomplice of corruption.

      Make the mistake of thinking that you can take your money back to invest in precious metals composed of steel and lead, and you will realize how your money is not your money at a rate of 30% in penalties. The beauty of a Debtor’s Prison is that the inmates willingly add more time to their sentences for securing their comforts.

  6. Be nice if the future beneficiaries of this pension fund had some say in this decision instead of this pandering bureaucrat that decided she has the right to speak for them and make decisions based on her personal political beliefs.

  7. Parroting the same illogical nonsense, disproven anti gun stance…please come up with some new logic for the anti lawful self protection position.

    Otherwise SCREW YOU.

  8. As a resident of New York City my tax dollars support Letitia James. I saw her on the local news this morning. I strongly disagree with those who want to “stay and fight” this lost cause. I’m divesting from New York as soon as possible. I want nothing to do with these authoritarians. My presence here is used by them as a leverage in their efforts to destroy freedom everywhere else and remake the world according to their own principles. It sickens me to support a society like this. I’m heading to the mountain states as soon as I can.

    • I bugged out of NYC 30 years ago. I went north when I should have gone west, but I was chasing the dollars not the freedom. It all worked out, even in MA where I now live, because any place is better than NYC where the inmates run the asylum. And the nuttiest inmates run the inmates.

      • I was right behind you 28 yrs. ago, only I went South, to Florida. Not sure how many dollars you were chasing, but I think I got the better freedom deal. CCW, no waiting when purchasing, and a ton of places to shoot; all year round, I might add. With the exception of S. Fla., we are a very firearm friendly state.

        • you must be referring to the miami dade area. over here in the southwest part of FL, at least my area, it’s 2a heaven. In seven years,, i had one, yes 1, woman comment on the gun on my hip at work. Said they scared her. then she added, “my boys would love that”. Hell, SHTF, my block is secure, every single person is tooled up.
          But to get back on topic, like others posted, is Ms. James willing to tell pensioners they will be getting less if this deal goes through? Of course not, because they’ll just raise taxes again. Tis new york after all

      • Well, I have one good thing to say about Massachusetts: it’s right next to New Hampshire and Vermont.

        Both of those states are nice, but I would rather live in New Hampshire for it’s more libertarian attitude and legal sound suppressors. Vermont also has a heroin problem.

        I’m going to move to a strongly pro-rights state, because I don’t want to get settled in a state on the fence that may move in the wrong direction and end up like you in Massachusetts.

  9. Insert a tire brand Goodyear, Firestone, whatever, in every part of this screed where Walmart is named.

    Now it sounds as really stoopid as it should.

    • For a better comparison, insert a brake company — that’s also a product people buy for their safety.

  10. I’m not sure their “several hundred million dollar” investment is as big a deal as she thinks it is. If she thinks the threat to sell that stock matters one whit to Walmart, she’s as dumb as her proposal makes her seem.

    Walmart’s market capitalization is over 200 billion dollars. So the pension fund’s holdings are a fraction of one percent of the company’s stock. Dump it all at once, maybe the stock price comes down a few percentage points…and rallies right back up as smart investors see the stock for a very profitable company selling for below market value. I don’t think I’d want someone with such a poor understanding of how the stock market works involved in the management of my pension fund.

  11. Living in a SouthWest suburb of Chicago which is quite rural I’m surprised Walmart does not sell guns out here, I would certainly purchase from them. You have to laugh at the silly people advocating the infringement of our God given right as Americans. They are a pathetically small but tenacious group. It is for that reason the hundred million gun owners of this country need to vote out every idiot politician even thinking of overstepping their bounds when it comes to gun control.

    • John no guns or ammo in Cook co. Wally world in Kankakee has some-I go to nearby NW Indiana and there are guns in Scheraville and ammo in Hammond(ironically now across from Cabelas who has tons of both). No idea about Will co.
      l

  12. Divestment in South African companies hurt big city pensions in the long run. This was reported in business news articles several years ago. Now the same kind of people want to do the same thing with walmart and it won’t work. I like getting 9mm on sale for $10.49 at my local walmart. I’ve been stocking up for 90 days now at this price.
    These people are just a bunch of freedom hating communists.

  13. Once our nation’s largest city does so, I know other states and municipalities will follow suit.
    LOL, not going to happen, and Walmart is big enough to tell them to pound sand if they did.

  14. I have to say it, Ms. James is an idiot. She has no idea what she is talking about. Her soapbox is a PR stunt. Her plan is simple, throw enough sh!t and some may stick. Like many progressive cities, there is a delusion of if all sales of firearms and ammo is stopped dead, crime will be directly impacted while American’s Constitutional Rights have no meaning whatsoever. Assault rifles sold, really?, sorry James but no. You are a buffoon.

  15. Thoughts:

    1. Several comments on this post state something to the effect that divestment of Walmart’s stock by these NY pension funds will not hurt Walmart. Unfortunately this is likely not true. The main objective of Walmart’s Board and Management is to return value to shareholders. This is accomplished by returning dividends to shareholders, purchasing back stock, or ensuring that the value of existing stock appreciates. Fewer buyers for the stock, all other things being equal, leads to decreased demand and a decrease in the share price.

    2. Given the point above, the question Walmart’s management has to ask, IF the NY Pension funds divest (a REALLY big if, I doubt it will actually happen), is whether the company will continue to provide more value to shareholders by continuing to sell guns and ammo than it loses via decreased demand for its stock. I have not sat down and done the math (too lazy and I have a life) but I would be very surprised if the right mathematical decision is to stop selling guns and ammo.

    3. I am repeating this just to reinforce the idea: It is extremely unlikely that any divestment will occur. These types of political statements against the activities of certain corporations occur frequently but are rarely followed by action.

  16. Well, for starters, it’s unprofessional and unethical to mix one’s personal political preferences with one’s fiduciary duty as custodian of people’s retirement funds. Go play partisan games with your own money, not pensioners’.

    Beyond that, this is pure public relations piffle, anyway. The fact is, Walmart’s stock has underperformed, badly, not only the broad S&P 500 index, but also relative to its peer group of discount retailers. This trend has persisted for at least the last fifteen years and has accelerated within the last one to five years. Walmart’s stock is down over 16% this year alone!

    What this divestiture is really about, is government bumblers trying to pick winners and losers in the stock market, with other people’s money, and coming up with mediocre results. So now they’re dumping the loser they picked and cloaking their financial failure in phony moral outrage over the sale of firearms.

    These people have some nerve subjecting pensioners to lackluster returns, then claiming a halo for belatedly reallocating the funds.

  17. I think that what the pension guy forgets is that Walmart knows its inventory better than anyone does. They know what sells, and what doesn’t. Guns sell, and even more there, ammo sells. They may not always be the cheapest, but are usually close, which means that they are one of the go-to stores for such, esp when you aren’t around your normal suppliers. I was out of town last weekend, and walked out of the local Walmart with maybe 400 rounds. Plus some other stuff that I might have bought elsewhere if I hadn’t been in Walmart checking out ammo price and availability.

    Walmart knows that they sell a decent amount of ammo on a regular basis, and that it brings people into their stores, resulting in sales of other goods. Maybe more importantly though, they also know their clientele, which nationally likely to take great offense at the company buckling in regards to guns. I dare say that that clientele is probably notably more pro-gun than the general public.

    As for the effect of the pension plans selling their Walmart stock, all it is going to do is drive down the return on their money, probably hurting them more than Walmart stock, esp since the value of a stock this well distributed is mostly based on yearly/quarterly sales and profits than political correctness (and eliminating the sale of guns and ammo is likely to affect this more than this push for divestment). Still, this example of imprudence on the part of the pension plans should be remembered for the fast approaching time when they can’t pay their pensions and are begging for help at the state and federal level.

  18. And then, when the brilliant progressives of the New York investment community can’t afford to pay out pensions they have “promised” because they chose to invest all their money in the spotted owl conservation corporation, they’ll just get the Feds to rob the rest of us via debasement….. Such is life in Progressivestan..

  19. More Marxist ideals. Let’s shift responsibility from the criminal to people who supposedly “enable” their actions. So let’s make those actions illegal, thus offsetting responsibility from the criminal to the supposed “enabler.”

    When someone is purposely killed with knives or vehicles we should definitely hold manufacturers and retailers responsible. /sarc

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