For the last couple of weeks, Democratic presidential candidates have attacked Walmart for selling firearms after a few employees of the business giant called for a walkout because the company sells firearms. But as Twitchy noted, a reporter for Business Insider destroyed the perspective the candidates and some gun control advocates were pushing by visiting Walmart and discovering that it is anything but simple to purchase a firearm there.
After news broke of the employees’ call for a walkout, Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) snapped, ‘Walmart should respect the voices of its workers who are calling on the company to stop selling guns. I agree. This is exactly why I believe workers deserve representation on their board, so that their views are heeded.”
Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) echoed, “Thank you Walmart employees for demanding action. Walmart should use its power to stop selling guns in its stores until politicians and gun manufacturers get their act together and raise the standard for gun ownership in this country.”
Anti-gun advocate David Hogg barked, “Let’s stop going to Walmart until they stop messing guns and ammo. Make money, arm shooters, Walmart. #BoycottWalmart .”
On Wednesday, Senator Sherrod Brown (OH-D) jumped on the bandwagon, tweeting, “I’m joining on, tweeting, “I’m joining @gunsdownamerica in calling on @Walmart to stop selling firearms in their stores. #WalmartMustAct.”
But a reporter for Business Insider decided to take the plunge and see exactly how easy it is to buy a firearm at Walmart, and found that the company takes selling firearms quite seriously and makes it far more difficult to purchase one than those people attacking Walmart have surmised.
Reporter Hayley Peterson admitted, “I went to a Walmart store in Virginia with the intention of buying a gun as part of an investigation into the placement, selection, marketing, security, and sales of firearms in Walmart’s stores. My journey to bring a gun home from Walmart was more complicated than I expected, and I was left with the impression that the company takes gun security and sales seriously.”
After noting that over 128,000 people have signed a petition urging Walmart to stop selling guns, a demand to which Walmart has refused to accede, Peterson said she had a difficult time finding a Walmart that sold guns, (although Walmart’s media-relations team later told her that the website for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives has a list of all gun retailers by state). She visited a Walmart Supercenter in Chesterfield, Virginia, where she saw roughly 20 rifles and shotguns — in a locked glass case behind the sporting-goods counter.
Peterson wrote, “I told an employee behind the counter that I wanted to buy a gun. They called for a manager … One sign warned that this area of the store was being recorded. Another reminded shoppers of the laws around gun sales. There were no signs promoting or advertising the guns.”
When the manager arrived, she informed Peterson that no authorized firearm sellers were present to sell her guns. A spokesman for the store added that any employee selling a gun must have passed an enhanced criminal background check and have undergone annual online training.
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon has stated that the chain sells a firearm only after receiving a “green light” on a background check. He noted that federal law requires less: only the absence of a “red light” after three business days. He added, “We videotape the point of sale for firearms, only allow certain associates to sell firearms, and secure firearms in a locking case with individual locks, among other measures.”
Two days after her initial attempt to buy a firearm, Peterson returned to the store; an authorized seller charged Peterson $2 for a federal background check, then left the counter and returned to hand Peterson a form titled “Department of State Police Virginia Firearms Transaction Record.” Peterson noted that the form asked for her name, address, Social Security number, race, gender, and U.S. citizenship status, as well as if she had ever been convicted of a felony, subject to a restraining order, or prohibited from purchasing a firearm.
The form advised, “an untruthful answer may subject you to criminal prosecution.”
But after filling out the form, the employee asked whether the address on Peterson’s license matched her home address. They didn’t, as Peterson had moved, which prompted the employee to advise Peterson she would need a government-issued document with her correct address, and to come back when she had them.
Peterson concluded, “At this point, I decided to give up on buying a gun at Walmart. I had invested several hours across two days on this. If I were actually in the market for a rifle, I would have gone to a local gun shop instead after about five minutes of trying to figure out which Walmart stores sold guns.”