Photo Illustration by Stephen Mccormick. At the behest of chief executive officer of Walmart Inc. Doug McMillon, Wal-Mart has made the controversial decision to stop selling short-barrel rifle ammunition.
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A tipping point in the everlasting debate for gun control may have arrived on the heels of the El Paso shootings. Walmart, among other large retailers, has banned open carry in their stores, as well as discontinued sales of ammunition and handguns. In response, the NRA and other American citizens against gun control have boycotted stores across the nation. As the fight for or against gun control rages on, where is our government?

Why does one of the most significant changes in the fight come from corporate America instead of the United States government? Shootings have plagued America for years, from the Columbine massacre back in 1999 to the Las Vegas shooting two years ago, the latter of which remains the deadliest mass shooting in American history. In 2019 alone there have been more mass shootings than days: as of Sept 15, there have been a reported 300 (and counting) mass shootings according to the Gun Violence Archive – a non-profit corporation that provides free information regarding gun related violence.

On Sept 12, 145 CEOs from various companies, including Uber, Reddit, Levi’s, and Twitter wrote a letter to Senate officials calling for the government to “stand with the American public on gun safety,” claiming that, “Doing nothing about America’s gun violence crisis is simply unacceptable.” 

This isn’t corporate America’s first rodeo in this fight. Back in 2013, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz wrote an open letter to the American public regarding gun control, requesting that customers don’t open carry firearms in or near their establishments, even in open carry states.

“We believe that gun policy should be addressed by government and law enforcement—not by Starbucks and our store partners.” Schultz wrote.

The Trump administration is reportedly announcing gun control reforms sometime soon, perhaps as soon as next week, but it isn’t entirely clear what those reforms may be. Politicians from both parties are calling for increased background checks, including democratic presidential candidate Rober Francis “Beto” O’Rourke, who is calling for the creation of a national gun registry and a mandatory gun-buyback program.

“Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47! We’re not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore!” O’Rourke said during the third Democratic presidential debate on Sept 13.

This was a shift from O’Rourke’s stance from last year, where he stated that “If you purchased that AR-15, if you own it, keep it. Continue to use it responsibly.”

O’Rourke’s 180 on his stance on gun control should come as no surprise however, as he was born and raised in El Paso.

Some of what O’Rourke’s promising includes a national gun registry to keep track of firearms throughout the United States, as well as a mandatory buyback for the aforementioned AR-15s and AK-47s.  Of course many Americans, primarily southerners and Republicans, fear their Constitutional rights are being treaded upon.

‘The Democrats want to take our guns away!’ they shout into the clouds.

Why are so many people insistent on keeping semi-automatic or automatic rifles that serve no purpose other than to kill other human beings? The second amendment allows the right to bear arms, yes, but do you really need an AR-15 that can fire 800 rounds-per-minute against the crackhead burglar invading your home?

A national gun registry, in addition to stronger background checks, would deter many would-be mass murderers. The counter argument to that is people who want to carry out a mass shooting would find other means to get their weapons. However, both the shootings in El Paso and Las Vegas had their weapons legally obtained, and both of them are in the illustrious top ten list for deadliest mass shootings in America since 1949.

While it may be true that especially determined mass murderers would likely find illegal means to gain weapons of killing, it would be much more difficult for them to do so. Not being able to walk into a shop and purchase a semi-automatic rifle and being forced to buy it from a shady dealer in a dark alleyway could be a decent deterrent.

But our government seems to choose their greed instead of the needs of the American people. The NRA has been pushing and lobbying against gun reforms for years now, ensuring we make no progress as a nation.

We’ll see if the supposed changes to gun control will amount to anything useful, but probably not.

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