We’ve spoken with the Pratt, Kansas Walmart [not shown] regarding reports that the store had stopped selling AR-style rifles and certain shotguns. We can confirm that Walmart HQ sent the store – and others around the country – an email stating that the retail giant would not be replenishing inventories of AR-style rifles and “personal protection shotguns.” The communication went out in March. (How this story flew under the radar is a miracle of modern PR.) Again, we’re awaiting official confirmation from Walmart, along with the reasoning behind their decision. Meanwhile, the end of Walmart AR-stye gun sales may have something to do with a related development last March when . . .
Trinity Church filed a lawsuit in Manhattan’s Third Circuit Court of Appeals. The lawsuit challenged Walmart’s refusal to allow a shareholder vote on Trinity’s proposal to stop sales of, you guessed it, AR-style rifles and “non-hunting” shotguns. From the Episcopal church’s website:
The proposal asked that Wal-Mart’s Board of Directors oversee the development of policies to guide management’s decision whether or not Wal-Mart should sell products that are 1) especially dangerous to the public, 2) pose a substantial risk to company reputation and 3) would reasonably be considered offensive to the community and family values that Wal-Mart seeks to associate with its brand. For instance, the decision to sell guns equipped with high capacity magazines seems inconsistent to Trinity (and we presume like-minded shareholders), given other merchandising decisions that Wal-Mart has made to protect its reputation and the public . . .
To be clear: ours was not an “anti-gun” proposal, nor a proposal to end the sale of certain products. We simply asked that shareholders be allowed to consider whether the Board has an obligation to assure that the company’s standards and values are uniformly considered and applied when the sale of certain products can have momentous consequences.
Note: in April, a federal judge tossed the lawsuit, preventing the proposal from going to a vote at Walmart’s shareholder meeting. Even so, did Walmart have a sudden change-of-heart/cut a secret deal with Trinity? Meanwhile, back in Pratt, the salesperson tells us she sold their last Bushmaster AR-15 last week. The town’s local gun store should be over-the-moon. As well as the civilian disarmament industrial complex.