by George Rasley, CHQ Editor
The news that Walmart – the world’s largest retailer – has decided to virtue signal by ceasing the sale of handgun and modern sporting rifle ammunition and barring firearms permit holders from carrying in their stores, reinforces what we have been saying about corporate totalitarianism: The greatest threat to liberty may not be an overweening government, but soulless corporations intent on enforcing conformity to their will.
That Walmart, once a major player in shooting sports retailing, has made this virtue signaling play should not be a surprise; they made a similar move a few years ago when they (like Dick’s Sporting Goods) ceased selling modern sporting rifles, such as the AR-15.
The National Rifle Association was quick to release a statement in response to Walmart’s decision to change its firearms and ammunition policies:
The strongest defense of freedom has always been our free-market economy. It is shameful to see Walmart succumb to the pressure of the anti-gun elites. Lines at Walmart will soon be replaced by lines at other retailers who are more supportive of America’s fundamental freedoms. The truth is Walmart’s actions today will not make us any safer. Rather than place the blame on the criminal, Walmart has chosen to victimize law-abiding Americans. Our leaders must be willing to approach the problems of crime, violence and mental health with sincerity and honesty.
The NRA statement made two important points: One is that quite obvious; Walmart’s actions will not make us any safer. Rather than place the blame on the criminal, Walmart has chosen to victimize law-abiding Americans. The second point is more subtle, but perhaps more important; the free market will provide other options to America’s present and future gun owners.
Which brings us around to another important point that liberty lovers must keep in mind; other corporate totalitarians are trying to take away your Second Amendment rights in other more devious ways.
Last year Bank of America said it would stop lending money to gun manufacturers that make AR-15-style rifles. At about the same time Citigroup also announced that it would require business customers to restrict certain types of firearms sales.
The Citigroup policy bars clients who use its lending, banking or capital-raising services from selling to customers who have not passed a background check or are younger than 21 and also bars customers from selling bump stocks and “high-capacity” magazines.
An April 10, 2018 article in the New York Times by Tiffany Hsu reported that Bank of America would continue to offer banking services to firearms retailers. Asking gun shops to stop selling certain types of handguns or long guns “gets into civil liberties” and is “a ways off,” Anne M. Finucane, vice chairwoman at the Bank of America said according to Ms. Hsu’s reporting.
Notice Bank of America’s Ms. Finucane did not say asking gun shops to stop selling certain types of guns was out of the question, but rather “a ways off,” meaning that such a course of action is under consideration.
Today there are over 64,000 firearm dealers nationwide, subtract the 4,177 Walmart and 850 Dick’s Sporting Goods stores in the U.S and that leaves around 59,000 federal firearms licensees (FFLs) not affiliated with either of those corporate totalitarians.
While a significant percentage of FFLs are hobbyists or part-time operators, independent gun shops make up the vast majority of FFLs. These independent businesses range from small operations like the Naples Gun Shop and School, in Naples, Florida, to high-end club-like atmosphere retailers, such as the Alamo in Naples, Florida, to giants, like Bud’s Gun Shops with locations in Lexington and Greenville Kentucky and Sevierville, Tennessee.
What distinguishes these independent gun shops from their corporate totalitarian competitors is support for the Second Amendment, love of the shooting sports, and a belief in the armed citizen as essential to maintaining American constitutional liberty.
To your independent gun dealer firearms aren’t just another product line that must earn their keep in revenue per square foot, they are a way of life.
As giant corporations from banks like Citibank and Banks of America, to retailers like Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods, join Silicon Valley’s movement toward corporate totalitarianism independent gun retailers – and the local banks with which they do business – will become ever more essential to constitutional liberty.
In recognition of the position of independent gun stores as the cornerstone of liberty, I think I’ll shake my piggy bank, make an excursion through the local gun stores, find a good deal and buy myself another gun, not because I need one, but simply because I want to send the signal to Walmart, Dick’s, Bank of America and Citibank that this is still a relatively free country and I intend to keep it that way.
We urge CHQ readers and friends to share this article widely through their social media and email lists and to call their Representative and Senators through the toll-free Capitol Switchboard (1-866-220-0044) and to let President Trump know via the White House comment line (1-202-456-1111) that the Second Amendment is not negotiable.
– – –
CHQ Editor George Rasley is a certified rifle and pistol instructor, a Glock ® certified pistol armorer and a veteran of over 300 political campaigns, including every Republican presidential campaign from 1976 to 2008. He served as lead advance representative for Governor Sarah Palin in 2008 and has served as a staff member, consultant or advance representative for some of America’s most recognized conservative Republican political figures, including President Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. He served in policy and communications positions on the House and Senate staff, and during the George H.W. Bush administration he served on the White House staff of Vice President Dan Quayle.
Photo “Gun Shop” by Sean Savage. CC BY-SA 2.0.