Shannon Watts never has to work hard to find a sympathetic voice in the media to advance her anti-gun agenda. This time, a story at Fast Company implies that Michael Bloomberg’s astroturf group of demanding moms played a prominent role in Walmart and other chains asking customers not to open carry in their stores.
At least that’s the impression given in the headline. Reality, of course, doesn’t matter to the purveyors of fake news.
How a grassroots group of moms helped push Walmart and other chains to act on guns
Walmart announced that it was “respectfully requesting” that customers no longer openly carry guns into its stores on September 3—a month after a gunman walked in a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, and shot 48 people, killing 22 victims. Kroger, the country’s largest grocery store chain, made the same request of customers a day later. Walgreens, CVS, and the grocery chains Wegmans, Aldi, Meijer, Publix, Albertsons, and Lucky followed. In total, 40 brands owned by those chains changed their policies within roughly a week.
True. That doesn’t mean that a so-called “grassroots group of moms helped push” these companies to take action. A more obvious reason for dispassionate observers? The high-profile national story of the open-carry idiot in Springfield, Missouri Walmart.
There, a 20-year-old man donned a plate carrier and a braced AR pistol and strolled into a Walmart, scaring everyone five days after the El Paso, Texas Walmart killing spree. The guy who did it admitted that he “didn’t think” before acting.
That ill-considered stunt not only failed to advance gun rights, it also likely played a major role in other companies following Walmart’s example.
However, in the alternative reality of fake news, the “no open carry” announcements came about because of the efforts of those plucky Moms who Demand Action working tirelessly in the shadows.
Behind the scenes, a grassroots group called Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America was helping push for the changes. The group was founded by a mother the day after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, when 20 children and six adults were killed by a gunman.
Yes, a “mom” who, under her maiden name of Shannon Troughton, served as president and owner of VoxPop Public Relations, a boutique liberal PR firm. Before that, Shannon Troughton served as vice president of corporate communications for WellPoint.
However, the fake news media loves to portray Shannon Watts as just a simple stay-at-home mom who suddenly decided to act following Sandy Hook. It makes for a better story line, after all.
And, of course, Michael Bloomberg
bought underwrote this new group and hired Watts to act as its sock puppet mouthpiece.
After lobbying for a federal bill to close a loophole for background checks that failed to pass, the group started focusing on state laws and the opportunity for businesses to act. “We pivoted and started doing this work in statehouses and boardrooms, knowing that like many social issues, that’s how you build political power and momentum,” says Shannon Watts, the group’s founder. “If you want to go to toe to toe with a special interest, you have to change this on really three levels: legislatively, electorally, and culturally.”
The Fast Company story gives credit to Watts and her group for Starbucks telling customers that guns were unwelcome in its stores, too. And the same for Chipotle in 2014.
In 2014, the group shamed Chipotle into announcing an open-carry ban in its restaurants, and then did the same for Target and other businesses. It focuses on open carry, Watts says, because the practice is legal in 45 states, and 41 have little regulation, meaning that it’s often possible to legally carry a long gun without a background check, training, or a permit. (In most states, concealed-carry laws do have more requirements.) “It’s also culturally reprehensible,” she says.
It’s “culturally reprehensible” to exercise one’s rights without a background check, training or a permit? Wow. Does she feel the same about attending church or writing a book? Those are civil rights, too.
The one-sided story goes on to make all manner of dubious claims and half-truths, including a claim that gun sales have slumped.
If the gun control movement’s cause had any real nobility and honor behind it, why would they need to rely on half-truths and misdirection to advance their mission?