Thursday, April 28, 2011

Victims of Gun Violence to Mayor Bloomberg: Condemn Wal-mart for Increasing Gun Sales

Wal-mart’s Cure For Struggling Sales? Reverse its Decision to Stop Selling Rifles, Shotguns and Ammunition at Many U.S. Stores

Communities and Families Plagued by Gun Violence Call on Mayor Bloomberg, a Strong Anti-Gun Advocate, To Tell Nation’s Largest Seller of Firearms it is Not Welcome in NYC

Victims of gun violence and leaders and families in communities plagued by gun violence, along with New York City elected officials, today denounced Wal-mart’s decision to sell more rifles, shotguns and ammunition at hundreds of stores nationwide after removing them from many stores five years ago.

Wal-mart’s decision comes after 7 consecutive quarters of same store sales declines in the U.S., which has spurred the retailer to pursue an aggressive urban expansion plan into New York City including a location in East New York, a neighborhood plagued by gun violence.

In 2008, Wal-mart enjoyed a major public relations boost when it announced it would participate in Mayor Bloomberg’s Responsible Firearms Retailer Partnership- a move even the NRA derided as nothing more than a “public relations stunt.”

The families of gun violence victims urged the Mayor to be as serious as he says he is about preventing firearm deaths before they happen, by telling the nation’s largest firearms dealer that it is not welcome in New York City.

Jackie Rowe Adams from Harlem Mothers Save said, “The mayor needs to step up and renounce Wal-mart’s awful decision. We have seen what guns have done to our communities, and bringing in a Wal-mart to our communities would send the wrong message- that we condone their gun sale policies which put people’s lives in danger.

Parents United to Rally for Gun Violence Elimination (PURGE), founder Freddie Hamilton said: “I hope a strong anti gun advocate like Mayor Bloomberg will recognize a disastrous decision when he sees one and calls on Wal-mart to stop. We need fewer guns on the streets, and Wal-mart’s decision will only mean more guns on the streets.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio said:"As the largest seller of firearms and ammunition in America, Wal-Mart does not belong in New York City. I urge Mayor Bloomberg to continue his leadership on gun control by joining the fight against Wal-Mart coming to our City.”

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said:“The Wal-mart charm offensive ends today with news that the conglomerate plans to expand considerably the sale of weapons and ammunition. We know that the bullets that killed six people and wounded a United States Congresswoman in Arizona were purchased at Wal-mart, and now the retailer wants to make ammunition more accessible in both rural and urban markets. If the city wants to remain a leader on gun control, we need to take a hard stand against Wal-mart’s decision and make it clear that any corporation that looks for new markets to sell guns and fosters a culture of violence is not welcome in New York."

Councilmember Tish James said: “Any commercial establishment that sells guns by the truck-load does not belong in New York City. Guns are a scourge in New York City and no one sells more guns than Wal-mart, they don’t belong in our city.”

Councilmember Charles Barron: "East NY is plagued by the scourge of gun violence. And at the same time that Wal-mart is trying to buy their way into New York, they are quietly starting to sell guns and ammunition again. This is Wal-mart once again going back on a promise they’ve made because of their terrible sales, what other promises will they break?"

Councilmember Jumaane Williams said: "The gun violence in my district cannot be ignored and it cannot be accepted. Wal-mart bringing stockpiles of guns and ammo into our city would be a public safety hazard of the most heinous kind. This is the opposite of what we need to end gun violence in my district and in the City. Wal-mart is a company that will put lives in danger in order to turn a profit and I will not stand by and watch this happen without a fight."

When it comes to gun control and gun violence prevention, Wal-mart doesn’t appear to share New York’s values:

  • Firearm sales: Wal-mart is the # 1 seller of fire arms in the US and takes in millions in profits from gun sales.
  • Arizona: Wal-mart sold Jared Lee Laughner the ammunition he used in the Arizona shooting earlier this year, as was widely reported in the news media.
  • Evading Laws: Wal-mart has a history of not complying with gun laws. In 2004, Wal-mart paid more than $14 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the California Attorney General alleging that the company committed thousands of violations of California state gun safety laws, including selling ammunition to minors and selling firearms to convicted felons, as was reported by the news media at the time.
  • Wal-mart’s Responsible Firearms Retailer Partnership is a sham: The partnership relies on voluntarily compliance, and there are no actual obligations for Wal-mart to comply.