This seems like a move ripped right out of Bowling for Columbine.
As Vice President Joe Biden and his team of gun control policy thinkers finish up their legislative package this week, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York has taken measures into his hands. According to the Daily News, the politician is busy writing letters to the CEOs of Walmart and six other corporations, all of which sell assault weapons. In this voluntary memorandum, Schumer is instructing these stores to cease and desist this action as a precautionary gesture before the gun control package is released in coming days.
A reinstated ban on assault weapons is one of the major expectations coming from Biden’s office after the Newtown tragedy. The move by Schumer seeks to halt consumers from stocking up on assault weapons before Congress hears this package. Although it’s uncertain how the legislative chambers will react to the comprehensive bill, Schumer is working against time here: In December alone, 2.2 million background checks (not exactly all for guns but probably the best indicator we have of sales index) were conducted — a 58.6 percent increase from December 2011.
And this huge jump was credited to the fact that these consumers realize what could happen in coming months to their guns.
Now, Walmart is known for hearing this kind of feedback: After the Tucson shooting, it was discovered that Jared Lee Loughner had purchased the bullets he used to shoot Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford and others from the chain franchise. The store has been unwilling to compromise on the issue, partially because the national attention and upheaval towards the corporation and gun control had a knack of dissipating fast.
But, as we now know, what happened after Newtown is different. This conversation isn’t going anywhere this time; as public approval of gun control measures rises, just the idea that a bill, regardless of its fate, with is heading towards the Hill with this much momentum is enough testament to that fact. And Walmart might have picked up on that.
This past week, Biden urged the NRA and Walmart to sit down and talk about the impending gun control showdown in Congress. The NRA quickly obliged — a surprising move, given that the gun lobby usually picks and chooses its members from within Congress, not from exerting pressure on the executive branch.
At first, Walmart told Biden that the corporation was “too busy” to talk about the topic, citing some sort of scheduling conflict. Busy with what, who knows — maybe the Mexican bribery charges exhumed by The New York Times — but this refusal lasted two days or so after harsh criticism from consumers and the press. On Thursday, the corporation gave in to demands and sat down with Smokin’ Joe behind closed doors.
We’ll find out this week just what they talked about.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 14, 2013