It appears war is brewing between private business and Second Amendment activists, as leaders of 145 companies sent a letter to the U.S. Senate calling for action on gun control proposals, CNBC is reporting.
At the same time, according to WXYZ news, at least seven big retailers have adopted policies that ask customers to not open carry in their stores or have banned customers from bringing any firearms into their stores. The request exempts law enforcement.
There are some misconceptions at work in all of this, however. Big stores including Walmart, Meijer, Kroger and Walgreens have asked that customers not open carry, while they have said nothing about prohibiting legally-licensed private citizens from carrying concealed in their stores.
Walmart may have set the proverbial ball rolling after announcing it was dropping sales of handgun and .223-caliber ammunition following a mass shooting at its store in El Paso last month. Within days, in a different state, Walmart’s resolve was tested by an activist openly carrying a rifle into a store. That was followed by the store’s request to not open carry.
While some gun activists cite the Second Amendment in defense of open carry, that amendment is a limit on government, not private business. The firearms community appears to be split on this issue, with some gun owners reminding others that just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. That, they contend, applies especially to using firearms as props for making political statements.
CVS, Target and Costco have outright firearms bans in their stores. That has resulted in countless numbers of gun owner and activists to take their business elsewhere.
Weighing in on this Thursday was veteran gun writer Richard Mann. Writing at The Outdoor Wire, Mann observed, “Be mad at Walmart if you like, I could care less what they sale (sic). When I buy gun stuff I’m going to buy it from a guy who smells like Hoppe’s #9, a guy who was installing a trigger on a rifle that morning, a guy who closed his shop early yesterday to go to the range, a guy who frequently has a shop full of like-minded folks bitching about anti-gunners, a guy who knows what a pre-64 model 70 is, who Jeff Cooper was, and who actually (cares) if I hit what I shoot at, or ever come back in his shop again.”
Mann lamented the demise of so many “mom-and-pop” neighborhood gun shops over the decades because people looking for convenience and to save a few dollars started going to places like Walmart.
At the other end of the spectrum, the 145 signatures on that letter to the Senate underscores the frustration retailers have because their stores have become political football stadiums in the battle between gun owners and people who want to ban privately-owned firearms, while erasing the Second Amendment.
According to CNBC, “The letter comes as companies have been forced to reckon with the risk that mass shootings pose to their businesses.”
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However, those retailers and the network overlook the fact that legally-armed citizens aren’t responsible for mass shootings. In some cases, they could be victims if they disarm to enter a so-called “gun-free zone.” In other cases, such as happened last year in Tumwater, Washington not far from that state’s capitol in Olympia, a legally-armed private citizen actually stopped a crazed gunman in Walmart parking lot, fatally shooting the suspect in the midst of an attempted carjacking in which one motorist was shot and paralyzed.
CNN acknowledged there is backlash against gun control proposals, pointing to Colorado, where passage of a “red flag” law is openly opposed in a number of counties that have declared themselves “Second Amendment sanctuaries.” Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams has vowed to not enforce the law because he considers it unconstitutional.
Where this ends is a matter of speculation, but gun owners are being urged to get active right now because it I clear that gun control proponents already have momentum heading into 2020.
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