Guns

Walmart's Ammo Sales Decision Doesn't Violate the Second Amendment. But the Government Ordering Them To Stop Selling Ammo Would.

Defenders, and enemies, of gun access need to get used to their fight being more cultural than political.

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Walmart's announcement on Monday that it will stop selling handgun ammunition and some varieties of rifle ammunition once it sells its existing stock of those products generated waves of incomprehension on both sides of the gun debate.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) tweeted that a private company's choice to stop carrying a product is a situation of "Walmart vs. the Second Amendment," as if one store's choice to not sell an item implicates the constitutional right to keep and bear arms (it certainly does not). Right-wing commentator Ben Shapiro, in other contexts not one to insist a private business must perform certain transactions, considers Walmart's choice a "dangerous precedent."

On the other side, Bloomberg reporter Sahil Kapur wonders if restrictions on ammunition access offer a secret loophole end-run around the Second Amendment: "2nd Amendment limits gun control options, but ammunition control? Could a very determined Congress or state legislature, say, ban ammo? Tax it at 10,000%? Regulate it into oblivion? Constitutionally speaking, where is the line drawn?"

The doctrine established in the 2008 Heller Supreme Court decision, while it stands, bars the government from completely preventing Americans from having commonly owned arms for self-defense in the home. It's fair to wonder if that might apply to ammo, but that approach is also a non-starter as demonstrated by the 9th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals—not one of the more Second-Amendment friendly judicial bodies—in its 2014 ruling on Jackson v. City of San Francisco.

To quote from that decision:

The Second Amendment protects "arms," "weapons," and "firearms"; it does not explicitly protect ammunition. Nevertheless, without bullets, the right to bear arms would be meaningless. A regulation eliminating a person's ability to obtain or use ammunition could thereby make it impossible to use firearms for their core purpose. Cf. Heller….(holding that "the District's requirement (as applied to respondent's handgun) that firearms in the home be rendered and kept inoperable at all times … makes it impossible for citizens to use them for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional"). Thus "the right to possess firearms for protection implies a corresponding right" to obtain the bullets necessary to use them. Cf. Ezell…(holding that the right to possess firearms implied a corresponding right to have access to firing ranges in order to train to be proficient with such firearms). Indeed, Heller did not differentiate between regulations governing ammunition and regulations governing the firearms themselves…..Rather, the Court considered the burden certain gunpowder-storage laws imposed on the Second Amendment right, and determined that they did not burden "the right of self-defense as much as an absolute ban on handguns." This observation would make little sense if regulations on gunpowder and ammunition fell outside the historical scope of the Second Amendment.

….we conclude that prohibitions on the sale of ammunition do not fall outside "the historical understanding of the scope of the [Second Amendment] right."….Heller does not include ammunition regulations in the list of "presumptively lawful" regulations.

At least one judge or majority panel in any chain of appeals would likely conclude that laws that make it impossible or very difficult to obtain ammunition would indeed implicate the Second Amendment right as established in Heller.

Until Heller is overturned (if ever), Walmart's move and the public reaction are an indicator of how we will mostly fight over guns in the near future: in the marketplace of ideas and products, not necessarily via the law (although it would not be very shocking in the near future to see new federal laws regarding universal background checks and/or a repeat of a ban on rifles with certain features that make some call them "assault weapons," though that distinction is often effectively meaningless). I reported on this trend last year when 3D-printed gun provocateur Cody Wilson saw mediums of communication and monetary exchange shutting out companies like his:

the culture at large, not necessarily the state per se, is closing in on him and his interests. "This is really happening now. YouTube, Google, banks….The libertarian response is just that these are all private companies, so….? And that's true. But if you are no longer a person" [Wilson said] to such leading institutions in marketing, commerce, and communication, "then what [options are] there?"

I'd prefer to live in a world in which commerce was less freighted with ideology, but those engaging in commerce should generally have the power to choose what to sell and who to deal with. The result of those choices won't satisfy every customer or every political activist, but they are a core element of liberty in a free market.

Was Walmart foolish to make this decision? Or to announce at the same time that it supports considering another "assault weapon" ban and would prefer customers no longer open-carry in their stores? Will these positions alienate more of their customers than they will satisfy? Will these announcements win them new business from gun control supporters?

As they noted in their announcement of the new ammo restrictions, the company had already "made decisions to stop selling handguns or military-style rifles such as the AR-15, to raise the age limit to purchase a firearm or ammunition to 21, to require a 'green light' on a background check while federal law only requires the absence of a 'red light,' to videotape the point of sale for firearms…."

The mega-company will certainly lose customers for the specific sorts of ammo they will no longer sell, at least when it comes to buying that ammunition. How many Americans are willing to boycott such a useful store entirely over their emotions regarding access to guns and ammo is unclear. People for whom Walmart is the only nearby source of ammo might face a real hardship for their gun-using activities.

Just because Walmart is perhaps the most phenomenally successful and game-changing retail operation in human history doesn't mean every decision they make will prove financially smart. Perhaps the relevant decisionmakers are willing to lose a little money to ensure they have a smaller chance of a connection, via ammunition at least, to any future public shooting.

However, Walmart has not announced it will sell no ammunition moving forward. Given that any ammunition in any gun can be used to kill people, Walmart's move is more symbolic of a cultural and political stance than something sure to be effective in lessening gun violence. It has that in common with most proposed new gun laws or policies.

The very fact that it's more an ideological move than a practical one is likely why Ben Shapiro called the company's decision "dangerous": It makes people uncomfortable to see huge cultural and marketing forces turn hostile to things or constituencies they stand for. While many people pointed out to Shapiro that Walmart's choice does, in fact, reflect the free market in action, it's not necessarily crazy to get a little itchy about a world in which people limit market transactions over political or cultural differences, whether the people being turned away are gay wedding cake enthusiasts or straight white ammo-shooters.

At one time or another, everyone involved in these disputes, or just cheered them from the sidelines, has taken for granted the fact that international cosmopolitan markets—in which people exchange goods without concern for religion, creed, nationality, or color—have made the world an enormously richer and more peacefully interconnected and option-filled place.

Yes, such ideology-blind market cosmopolitanism allows people who you think are bad to make a living, or to obtain things you wish they couldn't obtain. This may be intolerable to you. But no matter how much you resent the existence of ammunition, it is obviously true that the vast, vast majority of such sales do not result in any harm to the innocent.

It is also true that making your political and cultural opponents feel as if the world is closing in around them in an effort to limit their peaceful cultural choices is not a good path to civic peace.

NEXT: TSA Admits Coke Bottles Shaped Like Fictional Weapons Aren't a Threat, Will Allow Them on Planes

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  1. Glad to know I’ve been preemptively boycotting Walmart all these years, and I had thought it was just because I didn’t like their stores.

    1. Boycotting is super effective, nice job!

    2. Most of the stores are fine. It’s the customers that take some getting used to.

  2. Shapiro did not insist Walmart must perform certain functions, he said that Walmart making this decision, for the reasons it did so will have bad effects on society in the long run by encouraging the bifurcation of our culture into mutually intolerant camps. He did not suggest Walmart should be forced to do otherwise.

    1. Indeed. Walmart has every right to do this.

      It’s just odd that we are letting people who genuinely have zero clue what they’re talking about set gun policy. All of these “We need sensible gun control laws” have literally never tried to ever buy a gun so they have no clue what is required to do so.

      And Walmart needs to remember the Left HATES them and the Right can easily stop supporting them too. Ask big tech how fun that is.

      1. Are you referring to the way the slack-jaws bankrupted Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Amazon?

        1. Since those organizations have little competition, your retort is nonsense. Walmart however, is already struggling with loss sales to on-line competition.
          The fact that you never actually do anything but post insults and talking points (generally cut and paste at that) demonstrates someone who is not comfortable having an adult discussion. This could also indicate someone who is far less assured of their position then someone who is confident in the defensibility of their stance. Is it you secretly suspect that you are full of shit? Quite probably.

          1. Someone posted that conservatives should punish Walmart for making a sensible decision, and that Walmart should fear this because ‘big tech’ could testify concerning the consequences of displeasing Republicans.

            That is daft, for several reasons.

            Claiming that Amazon possesses little competition is also silly. A competent adult would neither advance nor accept that assertion. That did not stop you, though.

            Carry on, clinger. Until your replacement.

            1. Notice you cherry picked Amazon, but failed to mention the ones most people have problems with, e.g. the so called social networks and search giants. This is intellectually disingenuous. Also, since no one in this thread your responding to mentioned big tech, your defense is a giant reach. As for the idea that I will be replaced, that sounds an awful lot like something a totalitarian would say . You still haven’t offered anything resembling an informed or mature debate.

              1. “Ask big tech how fun that is.”

                I was responding to that mention of “big tech,” you slack-jawed, bigoted, obsolete loser.

                Society’s rejection of your stale right-wing views has made you cranky and hysterical. Maybe try to stop being such a loser?

            2. More unoriginal nonsensical bullshit from a drooling idiot that hasn’t learned it’s place yet.

      2. Excellent point, difficult to understand the logic behind this completely meaningless move.

      3. We should mandate that anyone who wants to pass any more gun control first become a gun owner. They need more experience and education. Half the time they’re talking out their ass, with zero shame about their ignorance

  3. I’ll take any stock they feel uncomfortable having in inventory.

  4. whether the people being turned away are gay wedding cake enthusiasts or straight white ammo-shooters.

    I’m unaware of anyone refusing to sell ammo to straight whites under First Amendment grounds.

  5. Their call for the enactment of more gun control (universal background checks, red flag laws and assault weapons ban to name a few) in their press release is certainly the 1A right, but it was extremely stupid. Given any opportunity, a number of people I know will no longer be purchasing anything from Walmart. Ammunition can be purchased on line in most states and or reloaded. I can also visit local gun stores and gun shows. This was a publicity stunt that likely will hurt them in the long run. I will shop on line for products I used to get at Walmart. I won’t pretend like Amazon is any more gun friendly (because they’re worse) but at least they don’t pretend to be either. And I prefer Menards for a lot of other stuff I get at Walmart (bigger aisles, less crowds, better service and better quality).

    1. medic…..Let me respectfully offer an alternative explanation for you to consider, in lieu of stupidity or a desire to insult the customer base.

      Since 2015, there have been over 200 incidents of shootings inside WMT stores nationwide. Roughly 1 per week. I am not talking El Paso scale, but a shooting of a gun inside the store at another human being. Let’s assume that the WMT Board of Directors, COO and CEO are reasonably intelligent adults who want WMT to succeed and care for the safety and well-being of their associates.

      I think a more likely explanation is that WMT heard from their customer base and their employees….and subsequently made a business decision to discontinue ammo sales. So why do I say this?

      When I look at WMT, I see one of the most responsive companies to societal and market changes ever. Cases in point: $4 generics (and hell, some are even free). Before WMT, who tried it? Answer: Nobody. In one fell swoop, WMT lowered the rate of healthcare spending in the aggregate for the entire country. When people complained about WMT employees not making enough money to make ends meet, what happened? Answer: WMT raised their starting wages, and continue to raise them in response to tightening labor markets. WMT pushes the retail envelope in a lot of directions. For a plain, staid, lumbering company – they are remarkably innovative and nimble. I just don’t see stupidity here, I have to be honest.

      I see this as a business decision that fits the overall pattern of business decisions made by WMT in response to market and societal changes. I don’t have to agree with the decision, but I think I do understand what is behind it.

      Plausible?

      1. Their customer base tends he gun owners and were not calling for these changes. No, what you propose is not plausible as these changes will do absolutely nothing to stop shootings in Walmart. You state nobody else tried this before, except they have. Dick sporting goods? Hell, Sears and Montgomery Wards both tried this in the 80s.
        This is insulting and stupid. The CEOs statement is nothing but virtue signalling. It is not being inivative, these all have been tried and failed to accomplish anything.

        1. eh, I get what your saying and I do agree that it’s kind of stupid for them to do this when most of their customers come from groups that either don’t support gun control or don’t care. However at the same time, does it really matter? I’m gonna guess most gun owners weren’t getting their stuff from Walmart anyways, they preferred getting guns and ammo from stores that were specifically tailored to that. This probably has as much to do with guns & ammo not being profitable in the greater business model, because Atlas is right, Walmart has been one of the most responsive (and most successful of the traditional brick & mortar stores) when it comes to changing with the times

          1. The question is not how much fun sales are to Walmart (who happens to be a major player BTW in gun sales). The question becomes if those who support gun ownership see this as a hostile action, and they do, will they continue to patronize Walmart or find other alternatives. I know where I stand. Walmart will no longer be receiving any business from me or my family. I realize the $4500 per year we spend there doesn’t really hurt their bottom line but how many $4500 hits can they take?

      2. How many of those shootings involved a customer who purchased the ammunition in the store before using it?
        How many again? Zero? One?

        1. Long…The honest answer is: I do not know how many of those shootings involved a customer who purchased the ammunition in the store before using it.

          medic has his opinion on the motivation of WMT; I have mine. I am reminded of an Ed Koch (former NYC Mayor) comment, If you agree with me 7 out of 10 times, I want you to vote for me. If you agree with me 10 out of 10 times, you need your head examined.

          We see the motivation differently, and that is Ok. I was unaware of the Sears and Montgomery Ward issues, so I will be educating myself on that. I am pretty sure there are many other areas of mutual agreement.

    2. “Their call for the enactment of more gun control (universal background checks, red flag laws and assault weapons ban to name a few) in their press release is certainly the 1A right, but it was extremely stupid.”

      Walmart is stupid.

      You are smart.

      The schools that deserve credit for cultivating your level of insight must be proud.

      1. Please, tell us how insulting and pushing for policies that are opposed by a large percentage of your customer base is a good business strategy? If you can provide actual evidence rather than insults and trope, I will withdraw my stupid comment. I mean going woke worked so well for Gilette didn’t it? Insulting your customer base when your already losing market share to on line competition hardly sounds like a tenable market strategy. But maybe you have evidence to the contrary, please share if that is the case.

        1. He can’t. Arty is a very stupid creature. And a high school dropout who performs menial functions for a wealthy conservative business owner who has pissed enough mercy upon the wretch to give it this job, albeit undeserved and unwarranted.

          1. I expect the clinger army to be just as spectacularly successful in punishing Walmart as it has been in smiting the liberal-libertarian mainstream in the culture war for more than a half-century.

  6. I have to believe that ammunition sales are probably are very small part of Walmart’s business. As the author notes, they gain distance from the issue and probably at a low cost. I agree with the author that guns are a cultural issue and most cultural issues are moving to the more liberal view point. Probably a smart move on Walmart’s part.

    1. It insults a large portion of their customer base. This may very well turn out like Gilettes ill fated attempt at wokeness. The evidence that the US is more liberal is tenuous at best. Also, this is unlikely to attract more progressive shoppers (who dislike Walmart no matter what they do) while harming their reputation with conservative shoppers. It hardly appears to have any upside, except as virtue signaling.

      1. The 80 to 90 percent of Americans who favor universal background checks seem unlikely to alter their consumptive patterns consequent to Walmart’s announcement.

        Gun absolutists are loud and resolute but seem destined to lose yet another battle in the American culture war. And, like the opponents of gay marriage, they seem unlikely to see it coming.

        1. The 80 to 90 percent of Americans who favor universal background checks seem unlikely to alter their consumptive patterns consequent to Walmart’s announcement.

          Are these the 80-90% that you consider to be morally compromised and intellectually unfit or are we pretending you have principles and understand basic math?

          1. And those universal background checks already occur.

        2. The 80-90% number is a talking point. It was from a poorly worded poll that had been disproven by multiple other polls since. Once people are told what universal background checks are the support is far below the majority.

          1. What are universal background checks that people would oppose them?

            1. You’re missing the point. The idea of Universal Background Checks is popular but actually checking people’s backgrounds universally is not. Much the same way free puppies or invisible pink unicorns are popular but once you start talking about owning many dogs for their entire life or keeping a horse, they get much less popular.

              A significantly different and/or more effective Universal Background Check would require a gun owner database and likely compulsory participation. Technically, requiring every seller to just ask if the buyer is a felon or intending to commit a felony before transferring a gun to them could constitute a Universal Background Check, but everybody involved rightly recognize such a requirement as pointless.

              1. I don’t really see how background checks would necessitate a gun owners database. Most of the reasons to prohibit a sale would be criminal related. If you are a convicted felony, charged with a felony, or under some kind of significant court order (restraining order), all these should be recorded. Mental health is a bit trickier. I would certainly like to have anyone who has been an inpatient to be flagged. I would also say that for any of these a person should have a right of appeal. But they have to go a little beyond to get there purchase approved. If a person has a felony conviction for embezzlement and he has served his sentence, I would not deny him a rifle for hunting.

                Also I don’t like this thing about exempting family or friends purchases. Sometime people are too close to make the objective decision. You know grandpa has a good heart and doesn’t see that a gun might not be the best thing for his grandson. If he really want to pass down the gun, have the kids background checked.

                1. How do you enforce your universal background check if you don’t know who owns what guns?

                  Without a gun owner database, if I want to sell one of my guns to my neighbor, I can just do it and forget about the background check that you want me to have to perform, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it because there’s no record tying me to the gun that I just sold my neighbor.

                2. So I need a background check to inherit my Dad’s guns when he passes away?
                  As for needing registration, look at Colorado and Washington that already have these laws. Based upon NCIS firearm checks, there has been almost no increase in these states. This either means no one is doing private sales or no one is obeying the law. Which do you think is more likely?

                  1. “So I need a background check to inherit my Dad’s guns when he passes away?”

                    Yes. If our laws say that some people can not own guns then we have to have a mechanism to verify. Most people will have no problem. But if a person has a felony conviction or serious mental illness we don’t want them getting a gun just because a relative died and left it to them.

                    Can we tract private sales, no. But I would expect most people to comply if the law required background checks for private sales. Those who chose not to do a background check would be opening themselves up to a liability if the firearm was miss used. Is the cost and inconvenience of a background check worth the liability.

            2. True, the majority do support stricter gun control–in the abstract. They share “magical” thinking. When proposed changes are actually understood, support falls rapidly.

              Let’s consider just “universal background checks”, aka “closing the gun show loophole”.

              First, let’s dispense with the notion that there’s such a “loophole”. Any licensed firearms dealer must perform background checks for all firearms purchased, even if those are sold at a “gun show”. Full stop.

              Under the law, occasional (*as defined by the federal government) sales between private individuals are legally allowed–this is the so-called “gun show loophole”. However, it is already a felony offense to provide a firearm to a person the seller/lender knew or should have known was prohibited from firearm possession (i.e., due to some previous felony conviction that disallows them from gun ownership or possession). Most law-abiding gun owners who are selling guns in a private transaction take measures to ensure that the person they are selling to is not a prohibited person (e.g., asking to see a valid concealed carry permit). Ultimately, though, most private transactions are between family members or close friends.

              A poorly written “universal background check” law, like the original proposal in Washington state, makes no allowance for temporary transfers or transfers between family members. Technically, under such a law, if my wife handed me a gun she owned (guns are not considered community property under this sort of law), we’d both have committed felonies. If my brother-in-law came to our farm and borrowed a rifle to go deer hunting, we’ve committed felonies. If my friend and I were at a gun range, and my friend said he had never fired a .357 magnum and would like to shoot mine, and I let him, again, felonies. If grandpa gives his grandson the family heirloom .22LR rifle as a gift, again both would be felons. Each such transaction above, under some of these poorly written laws, would require both parties to traipse to a FFL dealership, pay a fee (usually $25 or $50), wait 20 minutes or so for the background check, then continue with their day. Of course, a return trip and another fee and another 20 minutes wait is required to return the borrowed firearm.

              Of course, even without a universal background check law, any of the the above situations would already be a felony if the recipient is a prohibited person.

              Personally, I would support a “universal background check” too, if it was carefully crafted to not create felons for innocent transactions. For example, if it specified a requirement for sales between persons not in an immediate family and if it provided a non-FFL route, such as a bill-of-sale where a photocopy of a valid concealed carry license demonstrates that the buyer is not a prohibited person.

              But I would not support a poorly crafted law that would do nothing to stop criminals and only create accidental felons for actions that are not dangerous to anyone.

              1. a bill-of-sale where a photocopy of a valid concealed carry license demonstrates that the buyer is not a prohibited person

                Who retains this document and for how long? Who ensures that these documents are being kept and kept accurately? What is the punishment for not keeping them? What if the felon claims they bought the gun but the owner/seller/record keeper claims it was stolen? Would their be exceptions for losing paperwork in a tragic boating accident?

                Seems like you’ve just taken the magical thinking about gun control and given it legs by kicking it down the road.

                1. I was considering it from a personal point of view. If I ever decide to sell a firearm I no longer want to someone in a private sale, I plan to cover my ass against a felony charge by making sure I do not knowingly sell to a prohibited person. Getting a photocopy of a valid CCW license seems prudent to me. If that person every goes off the rails using my former firearm and the cops come at me, I’d like to have proof I did my due diligence.

                  I’m didn’t say it should be required, I was meaning to imply it should be a positive defense against a charge of providing firearms to a prohibited person.

            3. This much vaunted “loophole” is a myth. Most criminals steal their guns, buy them legally, or buy them off the black market. All this would do is cause law-abiding decent folks trouble. No sharing a gun between a husband and wife, not teaching your kids to shoot. No gifting of weapons to friends or family… The private gun market between strangers is quite small, so how is this any kind of solution. It just SOUNDS cool

            4. Universal background checks are a registry of gun owners. Not yet a registry of guns owned, but still an effective first step towards an attempt at total confiscation. Or in other words, a prelude to war.

        3. “The 80 to 90 percent of Americans who favor universal background checks seem unlikely to alter their consumptive patterns consequent to Walmart’s announcement.”
          So asshole bigot here is all for the (claimed) 80-90 percent of Americans who can’t read? How refreshing, fucking piece of shit.

          “Gun absolutists”
          Asshole bigot here means those who have read and support the Constitution, but being a bigoted asshole, tries to come up with ‘clever’ names to hide the reality.

      2. “The evidence that the US is more liberal is tenuous at best.”
        I don’t think I agree with this statement. People are more open to interracial relationships, there is greater acceptance of same-sex relationships, people are accepting of climate change, more people live in urban area and hence more accepting of reasonable gun regulations and more people expect government supported healthcare. What do you see as more conservative?

        1. Interracial marriage, really? How is interracial marriage a liberal position (liberal as in the modern not traditional definition)? More open to gun regulations? Depends on who and what you ask, and how you ask if. Living in more urban areas? And this has what to do with the price of tea in China? Accepting climate change? Again, how is this a liberal/conservative belief? People expect government supported health care only until you tell them they’ll lose their insurance and what the price tag is.

          1. Also, it is all a pendum. 1990s fun control was also supposedly popular right up until they actually passed it.

            1. If you’re unable to comprehend which side has been and is winning the American culture war, that explains many of your contributions to debate.

              1. Define winning and define sides? Also, define what is and isn’t the culture wars. If your side is so inevitable you wouldn’t have to constantly come on here and tell us how much your winning and resorting to peurile ad hominems. If you have to try so hard to convince people you are winning, you probably aren’t.

          2. Interracial marriage. When I was a kid some states prohibited these marriages. I was almost a teenager before it was legal in all states. Bob Jones University prohibited interracial dating until 2000. So I believe it is a liberal position.

            1. So some states prohibited it and that makes it a conservative issue? Or your definition of conservative?

    2. I have to believe that ammunition sales are probably are very small part of Walmart’s business. As the author notes, they gain distance from the issue and probably at a low cost. I agree with the author that guns are a cultural issue and most cultural issues are moving to the more liberal view point. Probably a smart move on Walmart’s part.

      Sounds like a profession of faith and/or ideology rather than any sort of objective assessment. If they constitute 1% of sales and open them up to a 1% chance of being held liable for 100% of those sales giving them up is a loss (ignoring ideological loyalties). I think the both the 1% chance and the 100% liability are monstrously inflated but neither one of us has the actual sales or liability numbers.

    3. What they are showing is that they no longer have any competition from other department stores.

      Ammo may be a small part of their sales. But so are oil filters, lawn mower blades, toilet plungers, and so on. They carry those things because their market is “one stop shopping”, and they drove all the other department stores in that market out of business. (They also incidentally drove a lot of small shops that carry sporting goods out of business too.)

      Only a monopolist stops providing what their customers want and tells them what they should have instead. It may be time to demand that the anti trust regulators have a look at WM’s behaviour.

  7. This is another expression of cancel culture which Doherty apparently thinks we should not have the effrontery to comment negatively on.

  8. Hmmm… will they still sell .22lr?

    1. Only until the Dems have a shot at look like they might win the presidency.

    2. Well, those evil, nasty, dark, scary looking, military style assault rifles are .22, so – – – – – –

      1. Usually those evil, nasty, dark, scary looking, military style assault rifles are .223 Rem and not .22LR. But they do sometimes come in .22LR.

        1. A number do come in .22lr, but I think his bigger point is about the sale of handgun ammunition. Many pistols are specifically designed to shoot .22lr, .22 short and .22 magnum, thus you could argue .22 ammo is handgun ammo.

          1. Well, there’s also any number of handguns chambered in “rifle” calibers, and vice-versa (e.g., rifles chambered for 9mm Luger). So that’s a modus that gets all ammo banned.

            1. Yes but .22s were originally designed to be fired in pistols, specifically the Smith and Wesson model 1 and 2. Further does this cover cowboy action pistol ammunition? I am thinking of the .44-40 specifically, or as it was originally known as, the .44 WCF. The reason I ask is that, while today it is considered a pistol cartridge, it was originally developed for the Winchester model 73 rifle. The fact is that defining something as handgun ammunition is purely arbitrary and could far more easily apply to .22 ammo then .45-70 ammo.

  9. At one time or another, everyone involved in these disputes, or just cheered them from the sidelines, has taken for granted the fact that international cosmopolitan markets—in which people exchange goods without concern for religion, creed, nationality, or color—have made the world an enormously richer and more peacefully interconnected and option-filled place.

    You mean the world that social conservatives are actively trying to dismantle?

    1. You mean the world that social conservatives are actively trying to dismantle?

      Just come out and say it, you think a world where you can legally purchase underage Asian boys would be enormously richer, more peacefully interconnected, and option-filled.

    2. “You mean the world that social conservatives are actively trying to dismantle?”

      No, he means you’re full of shit.

    3. WAIT! Wait just a second, let me fix that for you–

      EscherEnigma
      September.5.2019 at 11:45 am

      At one time or another, everyone involved in these disputes, or just cheered them from the sidelines, has taken for granted the fact that international cosmopolitan markets—in which people exchange goods without concern for religion, creed, nationality, or color—have made the world an enormously richer and more peacefully interconnected and option-filled place.

      You mean the world that social justice warriors are actively trying to dismantle?

      There. Now you look a bit less of an ass than usual.

    4. The pushback to this comment is hilarious.

      We all know that y’all don’t support non-discrimination laws. You know, the laws that helped create a marketplace “in which people exchange goods without concern for religion, creed, nationality, or color”

      Take away those laws, and yeah, Wal-Mart can put up a “no straight men” sign. Literally.

      And yes, social conservatives are actively fighting those laws. Look at the arguments they put up against non-discrimination laws that include gay folk. Every single one of their argument works against every other protected category. If they ever win, the new status quo won’t just be “I can refuse gays because God”, it’ll be “I can refuse anyone because God”.

      So yes. Social conservatives (and libertarians) are actively fighting for a world where people can and do consider religion, creed, nationality and color (along with any other factor they want) when exchanging goods.

      That y’all feel the need to refute this is hilarious.

      1. We feel that Wal-Mart should be allowed to put up such a sign. We also think it would be stupid to so. The same as the florist should be free to reject clients on any basis, including their sexual orientation. We think that would be stupid too.

        OTOH, we find there to be no reason to force a black restaurateur to be forced to host a KKK banquet. The restaurant owner should be free to reject customers based on their political (white-supremacy) beliefs. If he has the right to do that, then the florist should have the same right to reject customers as he sees fit.

        1. The fact that you have to explain this distinction is sad. I am not advocating that the government force Walmart to overturn this decision but at the same time I disagree with their position and will do the best I can to avoid shopping there again. Considering we routinely spend $150 dollars there every 2 weeks and up to $400 come Christmas, it may not be much for the corporation, but they did just decrease sales by $4300 at least. It is a drop in the bucket but if this angered enough people, those drops add up.

          1. I was explaining it to EscherEnigma not you.

            1. And I didn’t imply you were explaining it to me. I was expanding upon your thoughts with some of my own. Maybe a little less defensiveness?

  10. making your political and cultural opponents feel as if the world is closing in around them in an effort to limit their peaceful cultural choices is not a good path to civic peace.

    In fact, it’s a pretty direct path to war. A war that, regardless which side wins, will be ruinous to civil liberties because civil liberties will be seen as having been a proximate cause–the media on the left, or gun and free speech rights on the right.

    But I want to focus on another aspect. We don’t really need to analyze the issue of burdening the exercise of an enumerated right. We have a direct historical example–the poll tax. Poll taxes, like “gun insurance”, ammunition taxes or any other ammunition regulation that’s been proposed thusfar, were explicitly designed to burden the exercise of a right such that a targeted group of citizens would no longer exercise that right. This is also the expressed purpose of ammunition regulations. Not only does nobody pretend otherwise, they openly advertise it as the desired result.

    It’s the same thing, and we can go ahead and treat it the same way.

    1. It’s the same thing, and we can go ahead and treat it the same way.

      If only judges would do the same.

    2. Actually, poll taxes imposed by states were legal. It took a constitutional amendment to end them. And frankly, this was the beginning of the end. It was never the intention that everyone be allowed to vote in this REPUBLIC.

      Que the crybabies with the “women and blacks couldn’t vote”, or the old “poll taxes were meant to disenfranchise blacks” lie. Voting criteria like taxes, education, land ownership, etc has been around since the beginning of the republic. It did NOT begin with emancipation.

      The criteria was there because choosing the government is the most important thing we do. The idea that people who we would never consider responsible enough to handle firearms or alcohol should choose the leadership that decides whether or not to go to war or borrow another trillion$ is pure insanity.

      1. The idea was that women and blacks weren’t smart enough to choose leadership. Yes. Very good.

        We figured out that this was unjust like many moons ago. Because women and blacks still have to live under the same government. They’ll thank you not to presume to choose it for them.

        1. >women are smart enough to choose their government…
          Voting for a foreign policy (i.e. voting for a President and/or Senators) which sends your fellow citizens off to a war against their will without at minimum being subject to the same exact mechanism which did so because of your reproductive organs is literally murder.

          Intelligence is not the only requirement for whom should be allowed to vote. It isn’t even the most important requirement.

          Being actually subject to the full measure of the laws you would subject others to is at minimum a more important requirement, if not the only one that matters.

    3. Unless the Left pulls their collective head out of their butt I suspect this controversy will inevitably lead to civil war. The irony is that the Left would need guns to fight such a war, and it looks like most of them wouldn’t have them (I’m guessing 80% of guns are owned by libertarians/conservatives). Could be a pretty short “war.” I think the Left assumes they would be able to suppress any resistance with the military, but if anything the military would fragment in such a conflict, just as we saw in the Civil War.

      1. All-talk bigots and gun nuts are among my favorite clingers.

  11. If the executives at Wal-Mart think this will make the Left like them or even just cut them a little slack, they’re in for a great big shock.

    1. It is hard to rid yourself of the Danes after paying the Danegeld.

  12. Walmart may not be violating the 2nd Amendment, but I can guarantee you there’s a case to be made that they’re violating fiduciary duty rules. “Get woke, go broke” isn’t just isn’t just a humorous meme, it’s prior notice and evidence that you knew or should have known that your actions posed a foreseeable danger to other people’s money that’s going to be used against you in the forthcoming shareholder lawsuit.

    1. Jerry….I think it would be a tough case to make = violation of fiduciary duties. Just don’t see that one happening. I mean, ammo sales are just not that big of a book of business for them. Companies discontinue products all the time. How is this different?

      1. They currently occupy 20% of the ammunition business in North America… that a big market share to lose.

    2. Does this “fiduciary duty” you envision compel Walmart to offer abortions, KKK Halloween costumes (seasonal, perhaps), Satanic texts, hand grenades, Hilary Clinton books, Trump wine, Confederate flags, kosher products, halal products, and all flavors of vegan Haagen Dasz, or does the sale of guns and ammunition involve a special duty?

      Any chance this “fiduciary duty” is perceived solely by gun nuts?

      1. “halal products”

        Interesting, but if Wal-Mart announced that they were going to discontinue sales of halal products, the social justice folks would be screeching about 1st Amendment violations, religious persecuting, etc.

        And Wal-Mart would be shamed into caving and restocking halal products. And the media would rejoice!

        But even mild grousing about about them stopping ammo sales–which is completely within their rights–is somehow disdainful to you?

  13. At one time or another, everyone involved in these disputes, or just cheered them from the sidelines, has taken for granted the fact that international cosmopolitan markets—in which people exchange goods without concern for religion, creed, nationality, or color—have made the world an enormously richer and more peacefully interconnected and option-filled place.

    White privilege?

  14. Since you’re considerably more likely to be murdered with a knife than with any type of rifle, wonder when Walmart will quit selling knives.

    1. And those baby-killing wading pools!

  15. it will stop selling handgun ammunition and some varieties of rifle ammunition once it sells its existing stock

    Emphasis added. Capitalist BASTARDS!!

    1. No doubt selling existing stock with a mark up, as they are the only ammo stores local throughout the country. What is the point of making a monopoly if you don’t exploit your customers after putting competition out of business eh?

  16. This is NOT the type of move that a company with a healthy fear of competition would make.

    The problem – as Tucker Carlson pointed out – is that Walmart pushed a lot of smaller department stores where people could buy whatever they want out of business. There’s no way they would stop selling ammo if you could go to another department store and buy it. They are only willing to do this because they lack competition and they know it.

    I wish our anti trust regulators actually worked in this country…

    1. Meijer (and other regional chains) have a market opportunity… But will likely follow suit

      1. Indeed. When one door closes, another must open.

    2. As corporations wall off more and more behavior, smaller companies and businesses can cater to that previously-allowed activity.

      1. There is no evidence to support the position that conservatives would be willing to trust the market.

        1. And there is no evidence they won’t either.

    3. Name one fucking thing you can only buy at Walmart.

      1. Ammunition at 3am in Tulsa Oklahoma.

  17. Walmart rose to power through the pockets of the people they now are holding in deep contempt.

    The people that Walmart is pandering to have spent the last 20 years holding Walmart and its customers in contempt — they are unlikely to start shopping there, no matter how big the virtue signal becomes.

    1. I hope to find fewer of you fuckers the next time I’m in Walmart.

      1. Yeah, right, “next time.” That will be when Target runs out of Tide Pods.

        1. They quit selling those at Costco. Does Walmart have a good deal on them? Almost out at present.

  18. “…the 9th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals—not one of the more Second-Amendment friendly judicial bodies”

    Another Trump term in office and a few more Federalist Society approved appointments could change that.

  19. How is this different from,a pharmacy refusing to sell contraception?

    1. You mean besides the fact that there’s no constitutional right to keep and bear contraception, right?

      1. I presume that ME is talking about the social implications of it, constitutional rights aside. If it would be a major media storm of outrage to stop selling contraception, you’d get an earful about “rights” and “war on womyns”.

        If you stop selling ammo, you’re stickin’ it to the racist clingers in flyover country.

        1. I presume that ME is talking about the social implications of it, constitutional rights aside.

          In some minds the fact that constitutional rights get set aside repeatedly in favor of the most vague of social implications is the core of the issue.

          There was a major outrage when Hobby Lobby, who doesn’t sell contraception or ammunition stopped providing its biologically female employees with 31 different flavors of birth control. Again, despite the fact that there’s not constitutional mandate that the government ensure liberty by preventing reproduction.

          If Walmart had said they can’t operate their ammunition business at a loss or were spinning it off, I don’t think one person would’ve cared. If they’d said that, for their customers’ safety, they have a policy of not allowing open carry on their property where the law allows such a policy, no issue. Instead, we got “As we’ve seen before, these horrific events occur and then the spotlight fades, We should not allow that to happen. Congress and the administration should act.”

          It’s not a violation of the 2A but it absolutely should make libertarians’, minarchists’, ancaps’, constitutional conservatives’, and even many socialists’ stomachs turn.

    2. At one level, it’s not different at all. It’s a business choice by a private corporation.

      At another level, it is somewhat different. This wasn’t a decision by an individual pharmacy. This was a decision by the head of the entire chain and imposed across the US. Most communities have multiple pharmacies within easy reach. The odds of all them independently making the same choice to refuse to sell contraception is low because competition in the pharmaceutical market is … well, maybe not high but okay. Walmart’s power is more concentrated.

    3. Pharmacies, as a rule, deal in controlled substances, and this is woven into the fabric of the license they get.

      Simply put, to be a legal pharmacy you have to cover certain “staples”, as set by state government. In some states this includes certain kinds of contraception.

      In those states, refusing to stock and sell contraception is a violation of the terms of the business license.

      Licenses to sell guns, on the other hand, have no such expectations or requirements that you stock certain models of firearms, certain kinds of ammo, and so-on.

      The more you know.

      1. I don’t believe there was any law that demanded Pharmacies “carry” contraception, hence the controversy over Pharmacists refusing to dispense emergency contraception.

        <blockquote.In fact, the issue of pharmacists refusing to fill birth control prescriptions is not new. The American Pharmacists Association adopted a policy as early as 1998 in which it both "recognizes the individual pharmacist's right to exercise conscientious refusal and supports the establishment of systems to ensure patient access to legally prescribed therapy without compromising the pharmacist's right of conscientious refusal." However, the increasing demand for emergency contraception and ongoing efforts by many antiabortion activists to mischaracterize the drug as an abortifacient (see box, page 11) have helped bolster a movement to give pharmacists the right to refuse to fill birth control and other prescriptions to which they object on moral or religious grounds.

        These efforts are making headway. Currently, four states—Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi and South Dakota—have laws or policies on the books that explicitly allow pharmacists to refuse to dispense contraceptives.

        Bottom line, this isn’t really a what-if scenario. We know what happens and how people react when you can’t get a legal product at a pharmacy.

        1. For the record, I think Wal-Mart does have the right to stop carrying ammunition. And I hope they regret their error in judgement.

          1. So far as I can see. Wal-mart was never in the handgun business. They have stopped carrying standard handgun ammunition. They discontinued sales of certain rifles. All of this is a very small part of their sales and business model.
            Somebody please explain why this is a problem.

            1. Walmart used to be a major player in the handgun business. Decades ago.

  20. I think this article is taking a couple of things out of context. Walmart’s right as a private company to stop selling a particular product is unquestioned. Walmart’s reasons for doing so, however, could create a “dangerous precedent”.

    In this case, it’s the precedent of kowtowing to bullies. Of making decisions not because they make rational business sense but because of “we must do something”. Or worse, “we must appear to do something”. Those precedents are not good for Walmart or for the customers they say they care about.

  21. We were able to outsource censorship to corporations, why not gun control?

  22. The constitutionality of this was never in question. The logic of Walmart is flawed, why not stop selling cigarettes? They kill and destroy an actual percentage of the population. They hurt buyers and people around them like kids and degrade lives for decades… Oh duh… they are addictive and make the politicians/walmart more money than ammo.

    Walmart is the new Kmart/Sears. They have lost the online sales battle to Amazon 10 years ago anyway… Just watch them flicker out

    (Sucks that I will have to buy bulk cases of thousands of rounds of ammo online now instead of just a box of a hundred here and there before going to the range. At least it will be cheaper in the long run.)

    1. One or two chains have stopped selling tobacco.

      I do not recall clinger outrage in that context.

      Perhaps something other than principle is at work.

      1. Perhaps something other than principle is at work.

        On this we agree, comrade. No one wants to be the first person to stop clapping.

      2. I do not recall tobacco being used as a defensive weapon against mass attackers.

        Statistically speaking, a person is more likely to be harmed by a “Reverend” than a firearm.

    2. Conservatives need to demand banning of cars. They kill markedly more than guns every single year. Also alcohol which kills more.

      1. Wal-Mart should stop selling car parts and supplies.
        See the Babylon Bee for details.

      2. And we don’t even have a constitutional right to own and operate a car. So banning them should be easy

        1. You keep your constitution out of this social policy discussion!

      3. Alcohol is a factor in nearly 100,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.

        Wal-Mart has a fully stocked liquor department. They might as well be killing those people themselves.

        1. Where I live they have beer and grocery store level wine.

          That is not a fully stocked alcohol level department in my book.

          1. That’s likely because your state will not allow them to have liquor. Here in Missouri I can buy a fifth of Jack at my local wallyworld at 3am. Up until the other day, I could get a box of 5.56 and some doritos with the booze at the same time.

  23. 2014 ruling on Jackson v. City of San Francisco.

    To quote from that decision:

    The Second Amendment protects “arms,” “weapons,” and “firearms”; it does not explicitly protect ammunition. Nevertheless, without bullets, the right to bear arms would be meaningless.[….]

    Another bad legal analysis. The 2nd Amendment protects the people’s right to keep and bear Arms. Arms as in Armaments. Armaments include but are limited to rifles, swords, knives, canons, ships, tanks, airplanes, grenades, bombs, mines, pistols AND ALL AMMO….

    1. You clearly didn’t read the whole article. The author made this point precisely: ammo is clearly protected given precedent

      1. You clearly didnt read the 2nd amendment.

        The protection of that right is absolute and does not need a court to okay it.

  24. Who really cares about their ammo policies? The fact they have partnered with Everytown is much more concerning. Nobody seems to have noticed or cares.

  25. So they stop selling ammunition; will they still bake cakes for an NRA fundraiser?

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    1. Walmart is now in the business of virtue signalling. Whatever. Good news for small businesses that are more concerned about their customer base.

  27. Is this an article we really needed? Or the “YouTube Is Not the Government” article?

    These points are worthy of little more than “Duh!”

  28. Excellent article. We are truly in a dangerous cultural war. As I’ve often said, if there’s no place to buy guns and ammo then our constitutional rights are moot. And this is the tactic the Left is pursuing aggressively. Granted, hopefully the market would find a way, but we haven’t had a truly “free” market in some time. I’m confident the Left could come up with creative ways of perverting things to make it difficult/impossible to buy guns and ammo almost everywhere. A reckoning of some sort is on the horizon.

  29. While many people pointed out to Shapiro that Walmart’s choice does, in fact, reflect the free market in action”

    The problem is that this behavior does reflect a free market in action. The direct action is a private one, but occurs in the context of a private entity trying to negotiate favorable policies with public officials on a wide variety of topics. In such cases, private actions are going to be influenced by which political alliances they facilitate and thus distorted from what would occur in the absence of regulation even though the regulations in question may not directly related to the specific action.

  30. * does NOT reflect a free market in action

    To put it another way, profit maximizing entities will engage in nomially unprofitable actions when the expected value of an action in future political influence exceeds the loss of profits.

    1. “To put it another way, profit maximizing entities will engage in nomially unprofitable actions when the expected value of an action in future political influence exceeds the loss of profits.”

      Yup. The future is even bigger and more intrusive government and today’s shrewdest operators are getting ready to be on the good side of it.

  31. Walmart can do what ever they want when it comes to selling guns. Is there any evidence Walmart sold the guns or ammo used in any of these mass shootings? Do they think Walmart not selling guns and ammo will end mass shootings? Does Walmart truly believe they will be less of a target for these shooting if they quit selling guns and ammo? If they do they are stupid. All they have done is make Walmart more of a political target and more of a safe zone for mass shooters.

  32. If Walmart (or any other store) wants to stop selling guns and ammo that is fine as long as it is not the government (local, state or federal) is not telling them that they have to stop. However this is where this is headed. Most of the proponents of the gun control laws today wants to stop private (except a few choice persons) ownership. When that happens we will have move from a republic which this nation was created to be. It that happens one of the founding fathers said something to this effect “At times freedom has to be watered with blood of the patriots! The second amendment was included so the patriots could defend this country from enemies outside and from enemies within. Every dictatorship has as an early action enacted gun control so only they could have a legal weapon. This is done to prevent revolution and their overthrow.

  33. I really don’t see what is the big deal about Walmart. I have never been a fan of boycotting anything because of some political issue to begin with. I like guns and shooting. We have plenty of gun shops and ranges that sell them here.

    This happens all the time both righty and lefty. Target, Disney, Nike, Chick fil A, Hobby Lobby, Harley Davidson, blah blah.

    I’ll tell you one place I won’t go into again. Morton’s deli. 45 minutes I waited for a pickle tray and some bread. Then the order comes…still no pickle tray. I don’t want it now. Then I cheated and did it anyway because they still make the best pastrami Rueben you ever ate.

  34. Ha. Tide is turning Gun Nutters. Today Wal-Mart stops selling ammo to you gun-fetishizing nutters. Then SF declares NRA a domestic terrorist org (long overdue). Next up will be the banks, who will refuse to process NRA membership payments or online gun sales.
    It’s over.
    Yer gonna have to pull your puds to back issues of Sgt. Rock.

  35. Nobody wants to limit anyone’s “peaceful cultural choices.” It is their violent anti-social impulses some people want to limit. Heller has encouraged many in the pro-gun community to suppose there ought to be no power to do that by any method.

    That in itself is regarded by gun-control advocates as a violent anti-social impulse. It seems unlikely that emphasizing a distinction which one side of the controversy regards as the root of the problem can become a way to solve the problem.

    The pro-gun community must come to terms with the fact that it cannot utterly dis-empower its opponents. They, no less than gun advocates, are free to enjoy whatever political power they can assemble. Until gun advocates come to terms with that political reality, the pro-gun movement continues to invite an unexpected adverse political crisis, and the nation will remain at risk of violence over gun policy.

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  37. I’d say you were rather gullible if you believe that Walmart has done anything. I haven’t seen a handgun for sale in any of my local Walmarts for years. When they have what I’m looking for, Walmart ammunition prices used to be quite cost competitive. Now, not so much. If this were a different product, one would surmise that Walmart was exiting the business.

    Walmart’s announcement that they are banning assault weapon cartridges is symptomatic of the ignorance & yes stupidity on the anti-gunner side. Wikipedia has a “List of AR Platform Cartridges” which is almost a 100 cartridges long. Walmart said they may ban what, 3 or 4?

    Open carry thing has long been used by anti-gunners to promote more gun control. Frighten people enough and they’ll vote for anything.

    Please understand that some amount of gun control is necessary but stupid and useless laws are ineffective at best and deadly at worst. Think before you legislate.

    1. Walmart stopped selling handguns in the nineties.

      Around me, (Joplin MO) walmart has the absolute best prices on common ammo, full stop. The were the primary source of my stock up ammo.

      All gun control is unconstitutional. All of it.

  38. Walmart shouldn’t be forced to sell anything. They don’t sell adult content or legal pot, as far as I’m concerned. But if their CEO says “we’ll stop selling meat from now on to protect the planet”, how should we react to that? Oh well, it’s not the government telling to do so?

    Cancel culture is often bemoaned at this site, but most of that is voluntary decision made by private entities. No one has to carry or publish products with Betsy Ross flags, comedy shows for underground comics.

    So what should be solution? I don’t want Christian bakers to be forced to bake satanic or gay wedding cakes, and that same courtesy should be extended elsewhere. And yet, if the big players in the market who control the distribution and resources continue to self censor and limit our choices, we lose out.

    1. George Orwell wrote an essay about political coercion back when National Socialists were bombing London: “And though there is no definite prohibition, no clear statement that this or that must not be printed, official policy is never flouted. Circus dogs jump when the trainer cracks his whip, but the really well-trained dog is the one that turns his somersault when there is no whip.” 7JULY1944

  39. The US-backed fascist coup in Brazil promptly clamped down on ammo sales, back when Alabamans were burning Beatles albums in the public squares. Then when Soviet Socialists were firmly in the saddle in 2003, a kristallnacht “disarmament” policy robbed Peter to short-change Paul for muzzle-loading flintlock fowling-pieces. The national motto? Guns don’t kill people, ammo does!

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