After the devastating shooting that took place in an El Paso, Texas, Walmart that left 22 people dead and 24 injured, the left began to do its usual pattern of never letting a crisis go to waste. Instead of taking a moment to mourn the fallen, they immediately launched into the process of making it an agenda item.
This includes a lot of virtue signaling aimed at Walmart. Leftists from lawmakers and activists, to random twitter users, began demanding Walmart cease selling firearms. All of them presented the idea that it’s incredibly easy to purchase a firearm from Walmart. More so, even, than cold medicine as David Hogg proposed.
It’s harder to get cold pills than an AR-15.
Something needs to change.
— Black Lives Matter (@davidhogg111) August 15, 2019
— The Hill (@thehill) August 22, 2019
Thank you Walmart employees for demanding action. Walmart should use its power to stop selling guns in its stores until politicians and gun manufacturers get their act together and raise the standard for gun ownership in this country. https://t.co/Bw6k2VAuoA
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) August 9, 2019
Walmart should respect the voices of its workers who are calling on the company to stop selling guns. I agree. This is exactly why I believe workers deserve representation on their board, so that their views are heeded.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) August 9, 2019
But is it that easy to get a gun from Walmart? Enter Hayley Peterson of Business Insider.
Peterson wrote that she set out to buy a gun from Walmart to see how easy it would be and found the process to be far more complicated than many have let on:
I went to Walmart with the intention of buying a gun last week as part of an investigation into the placement, selection, marketing, and security of firearms in Walmart’s stores, and to learn more about the retailer’s processes governing gun sales.
My journey to bring a gun home from Walmart turned out to be far more complicated than I expected.
First, she went to Walmart’s website and found out that over 4,000 Walmart locations sell guns, but upon attempting to find out which one sells firearms in-store, she was coming up with vague answers. Furthermore, the only guns being displayed on Walmart’s website were non-lethal airsoft guns.
She then attempted to reach out to Walmart employees directly, but still had no luck:
The only guns advertised on Walmart’s website are air guns, which are nonlethal. After about 30 minutes, I gave up on searching the internet and turned to the phone.
I figured that employees at any one of Walmart’s stores near me would know which locations sold guns.
I was wrong.
Over an hour and a half, I placed more than a dozen calls to multiple stores, waited on hold for a combined 40 minutes, and got through to a human only three times. Three Walmart employees told me they didn’t know which stores sold guns in the area.
Calling customer service gave her no luck as well, as the representative told her they weren’t allowed to discuss item availability of that type for reasons he wouldn’t elaborate on. Finally, she managed to find a store that claimed it did sell them:
Someone answered the phone at a Walmart Supercenter in Chesterfield, Virginia.
She transferred me to the sporting-goods department, where a woman on the line confirmed that I could buy a gun there.
The store was 30 minutes away. I got in my car and plugged the address for the Chesterfield Walmart into my phone.
Peterson says she walked into the store, past the toy and bike aisles and located the gun counter right behind them. Even then, she encountered a sparse inventory with a lack of selection:
A selection of about 20 rifles and shotguns was displayed in a locked glass case behind the sporting-goods counter. The guns ranged in price from $159 to $474.
The counter in front of the guns displayed pocket knives, binoculars, and digital night-vision monoculars inside a locked case.
The selection of guns was limited compared with nearby gun stores, which offered dozens of different kinds of firearms, including handguns.
Peterson noted no advertisements for guns in the store. She was warned by signage that she was on camera in this particular area of the store and that upon request to purchase a gun, the manager was called.
The manager told Peterson that she would have to come back in a couple of days to purchase the firearm, as no licensed firearm seller was scheduled to work that day. She was told later that Walmart employees have to be legally qualified to sell firearms, passing background checks and going through training for it specifically.
She was able to look at the gun, and noted the very careful way in which the guns were locked up and secured, including zip ties that needed to be cut and replaced after every removal. Also, once purchased, the employee has to walk the gun to your car with you.
Upon returning a couple of days later, a woman was able to help sell the gun to Peterson. She walked Peterson through the process, had her pay $2 for her background check fee, and began filling out the paperwork. Peterson was stopped almost immediately, however, as her address didn’t match up the one displayed on her driver’s license:
That was a problem, she said.
To pass the background check, I would need to bring in a government-issued document with my correct address, such as a bill from a state-owned utility or a car registration. (I have never bought a gun, so I wasn’t aware of this.)
She apologized, told me the rules were strict around background checks, and asked me to come back another time to finish the purchase.
At that point, Peterson said she gave up trying to buy a gun from Walmart, and concluded that purchasing a gun from that store is incredibly difficult.
I doubt that many of the politicians and activists currently virtue signaling over Walmart have ever tried to purchase one from them. What’s more, I’m not sure how stopping the sale of firearms from Walmart would have helped anyone in El Paso, or prevented El Paso from happening. They don’t even sell handguns.
It seems to me that the “do something” crowd has picked a target in ignorance.