03-19 bill patrick

Herald-Press Journalist William Patrick

Following three high-profile mass shootings in one month, Walmart announced this week it will stop selling handgun ammunition, as well as a few kinds of rifle ammo, such as the .223 caliber and 5.56 caliber, that's often used in assault-style weapons.

Walmart also is discouraging open-carry in its stores, including Palestine's.

Many consumers went buck wild over the policy changes, threatening a boycott, accusing the store of buckling under liberal pressure, and engaging in name-calling on social media.

Time for a cease-fire, folks.

I am a firearms enthusiast, but I don't see anything in Walmart's announcement that will erode the Second Amendment rights I staunchly support. It doesn't curtail my constitutional rights any more than do CVS, JC Penney, Best Buy, or hundreds of other retailers that refuse to stock ammo.

My love of firearms has never hinged on Walmart's policies or inventory, anyway. I will simply buy my bullets elsewhere.

In this country, shareholders decide a company's policies. Customers decide where they will shop. That's Economics 101 in America's free-market economy. Walmart's shareholders include T. Rowe Price, Fidelity Management, and State Farm Investment Management.

If you're really that jacked up about Walmart's changes, then shop somewhere else.

Some customers even criticized the world's largest retailer for having the unmitigated gall to not consult them before making the decision.

Maybe I missed something, but I don't recall a private company ever soliciting my opinion about policy changes.

A few years ago, Walmart stopped carrying a brand of instant wonton soup I like. It never occurred to me that Walmart principals should have talked this over with me. I just started buying my soup elsewhere.

In the last month, mass shootings at Walmart stores in Mississippi and Texas left 24 dead, and dozens more wounded. If shareholders had made their decision to scale down Walmart's firearm inventory based purely on emotion, I would not have blamed them.

But they didn't. Walmart did not become the nation's largest retailer by reacting emotionally. This decision, like all decisions made by the corporate giant, was based on the bottom line – and it has already paid off.

Shortly after Walmart's announcement, shares from multiple gun and ammunition makers dropped as much as six percent. Walmart, however, closed the same day with an uptick.

The U.S. Constitution promises us the freedom to keep and bear arms. Walmart's mission statement promises only β€œto save people money so they can live better.”

Recommended for you