Editorial roundup: As lawmakers do nothing, businesses adopt gun control measures

Published 8:08 pm Tuesday, September 10, 2019

If it seems like we just wrote about this a few weeks ago, it’s because we did.

Following the back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, that left more than 30 people dead and dozens more injured at the beginning of August, we (as well as millions of Americans) called upon lawmakers to enact common-sense regulations to help reduce these horrifying events.

And as you likely know, nothing was done.

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Then, on Aug. 31, another mass shooting occurred in Odessa and Midland, Texas. Eight people, including the shooter, were killed and 25 people, including three police officers, were injured.

It doesn’t seem to matter who is killed — shoppers, school children, moviegoers, concert attendees, bar patrons, former co-workers — our lawmakers seem unable to place any value on the life of their constituents.

Because our elected officials have not taken action, corporations affected by the shootings have decided to stand up and take matters into their own hands to protect their constituents — their customers.

Walmart became a surprising champion of gun safety when it announced it will discontinue sales of certain guns and ammunition and request customers no longer openly carry firearms in its stores — regardless of state laws that allow it.

“We believe the opportunity for someone to misinterpret a situation, even in open carry states, could lead to tragic results,” Walmart CEO Doug McMillion said in a statement sent to employees Tuesday. “We hope that everyone will understand the circumstances that led to this new policy and will respect the concerns of their fellow shoppers and our associates.”

In the company’s new firearms and ammunition guidelines, the nation’s largest retailer stated it now only sells “long guns for hunting and sport shooting, including shotguns, single-shot hunting rifles and light sporting rifles, as well as BB and pellet guns.”

It will no longer sell ammunition for handguns, short-barrel rifles such as the .223 caliber and 5.56 caliber that, “while commonly used in some hunting rifles, can also be used in large-capacity clips on military-style weapons.”

It has also stopped selling handguns, which were previously only sold in Alaska stores.

While calls for a boycott of the retailer seem to be gaining traction on social media, there still seems to be plenty of cars in the parking lots and shoppers in the stores here in Central Minnesota.

Walmart isn’t the first major retailer to curb its gun sales. Dick’s Sporting Goods earlier this year decided to stop selling all guns and ammunition at 125 of its stores. That move came after the retailer already had stopped selling high-capacity firearms and last year required gun buyers to be 21 and older.

And guess what? People still shop there.

“We feel like we are striking a responsible balance between the interests of law-abiding citizens who are exercising their legal rights and the safety concerns of our associates and customers,” Dan Bartlett, Walmart executive vice president of corporate affairs said during a call with reporters after the company’s announcement.

This is what our elected officials need to do: Find a balance where everyone is protected.

Walmart goes above and beyond federal requirements when selling the firearms it offers. Our lawmakers should consider implementing these rules for all gun sales in America:

— Federal law permits a gun sale after three business days, even if a background check is delayed. Walmart will only sell a firearm after receiving a passing background check.

— The point of sale for firearms is videotaped and firearms in the store are secured in a locking case.

— Walmart only sells a firearm after receiving a “green light” on a background check. This goes beyond federal law, which only requires the absence of a “red light” after a three-business day waiting period. Walmart requires a “green light,” regardless of the time period.

And again, as we said earlier this month, it’s time for our elected officials to try some common-sense rules when it comes to guns:

— Require background checks for all gun purchases online and at gun shows.

— Do more to regulate high-capacity weapons, like in-depth background checks, mandatory training and even liability insurance.

— Ramp up resources for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms so that gun sellers are reviewed more often and with more scrutiny.

— Fully fund comprehensive mental health care. More resources for mental health care could help prevent mass shootings.


— St. Cloud Times, Sept. 7


About Editorial Roundup

Editorials from newspapers around the state of Minnesota.

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