Nate Jackson / Sep. 4, 2019

Walmart’s Vacuous Virtue Signal

Banning its ammunition sales will do nothing to prevent the next homicide with a gun.

Walmart has bravely stepped into the void and forever solved the problem of gun violence. Alright, forgive the utter sarcasm. On Tuesday, the retail behemoth announced its new policy of no longer selling handgun or some rifle ammunition — after stores sell out of current inventory, of course — as well as asking customers to no longer open carry in its stores. Asked if that will have any effect on crime committed with guns, former Walmart CEO Bill Simon said “it’s very difficult to say.”

Actually, Mr. Simon, it’s not difficult to say at all: Walmart’s new policy is meaningless virtue signaling that will merely transfer sales and customers to eager small gun stores while doing absolutely nothing to stop a single shooting, most of which happen with illegally possessed guns on Democrat-run urban poverty plantations. Only 7% of firearm-related homicides are committed with guns purchased from licensed dealers.

Yet Simon argued that the mass murder of 22 people in an El Paso Walmart last month (along with other recent mass shootings) meant the company was “left with no choice” but to “take some sort of action.” Current CEO Doug McMillon insisted, “In a complex situation lacking a simple solution, we are trying to take constructive steps to reduce the risk that events like these will happen again. The status quo is unacceptable.”

The 21-year-old murderer in El Paso used an AR-15. Walmart stopped selling such rifles in 2015, and in 2018 it raised the minimum age for purchasing any other gun to 21 from 18. Neither policy change stopped the El Paso psychopath. Walmart does account for 20% of the nation’s ammo sales, but ceasing those sales won’t stop a determined evildoer in the future; it will only inconvenience law-abiding Americans.

As for open carry, well, our position may be unpopular, but we believe it’s a tactically foolish and provocative gesture that gives more heartburn than protection. Yet we’d far prefer that gun owners reach that conclusion on their own rather than a retailer dictate it.

On a final note, when is Walmart going to stop selling high-sugar junk food, which it promotes primarily to lower-income customers? Those products are a far more deadly and health-cost burden than firearms. Far more people who become sugar and fat junkies die from the resulting heart failure, strokes, and other diseases related to obesity. And what about selling alcohol and auto parts, each of which also contribute to far more deaths than firearms? The answer, of course, is that there’s no political party calling for any of that.

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