After Walmart’s welcome announcement last week that it would immediately stop selling certain types of ammunition and would also request that customers in “open carry” states not carry their weapons into the company’s stores, the National Rifle Association’s response was as implacable as it was predictable. What was essentially a reaffirmation of its longstanding declaration of war against even the most commonsense efforts to improve public safety attested to how loyal the NRA remains to the firearms manufacturers that are its most valuable and valued constituency.
"It is shameful to see Walmart succumb to the pressure of the anti-gun elites,” thundered the NRA, adding that the retailer “has chosen to victimize law-abiding Americans.”
The attempt to rhetorically transform into elitists everyone concerned about the frequency and ferocity of mass shootings in America, and the effort to elevate the alleged victim status of the “law-abiding Americans” the NRA purports to speak for above that of the law-abiding Americans being shot to death in schools, stores, synagogues, garlic festivals, and on the streets, were telling in the way a whiff of bottom-line fear can be telling.
Like the decision in March by the Dick’s Sporting Goods chain to end guns and ammo sales at 125 of its 720 stores nationwide, Walmart’s move surely was market-tested, even market-driven. This is not to denigrate the wisdom and fortitude behind these corporate actions, but rather to emphasize that both Dick’s and Walmart are being responsive and responsible to customers of their 5,000 stores nationwide.
Having long portrayed itself as the champion of the rights of ordinary Americans, as opposed to a shill for corporate manufacturers of firearms, the NRA, with an assist from its allies, is laboring to make Walmart out to be a corporate enemy turning its back on regular folks. Perhaps some of those regular folks are among the majority of NRA members whom polls consistently show are supportive of enhanced background checks and other matter-of-fact public safety measures to which the organization supposedly representing their interests is so ferociously opposed.
Or it may be that the NRA’s leadership, understandably preoccupied by the expensive, ongoing internal power struggle described by ProPublica and other media, has succumbed to the organization’s own hysterical propaganda about sinister plans for mass confiscation of all firearms, including family heirlooms.
Speaking of hysteria, the not only ill-advised but unanimous vote by San Francisco’s governing body, declaring the NRA an entity bent on “domestic terrorism,” has handed the organization a tool to promote its purported victimhood. This silly declaration also offers the NRA a meme with which to change the subject from Walmart, stoke outrage, and raise money.