4/08 Misdirected Outrage At Wal-Mart?

Misdirected Outrage At Wal-Mart?

Erich Pratt

Gun owners are up in arms, and they’ve got Wal-Mart in their crosshairs — figuratively speaking, of course.

Wal-Mart’s leadership joined with anti-gun rights New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg last week and instituted additional gun control restrictions on its customers.

In order to appease Bloomberg and his misnamed group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Wal-Mart is prepared to deny firearms purchases to some of its customers, even though they’ve never been investigated or convicted of having committed a crime.

If a gun owner has one of his handguns stolen, and it’s later used in a crime, Wal-Mart may refuse any future sales to that gun owner.

Or, if a gun owner — say, with the name of John Smith — tries to buy a firearm but the FBI discovers that there is a criminal with a similar name, then Wal-Mart has now announced they will probably not sell a firearm to the good John Smith.

Wal-Mart customers have fired up the internet blogs with indignation. One former customer says, “I will never again buy a gun from Wal-Mart. Ever.”

Another one admits, “I don’t have anything to hide, but no more guns for me from Wallyworld.”

There’s a lot of anger out there, and some of the comments aimed at Wal-Mart can’t be printed in this column. But does Wal-Mart deserve all the blame?

Unilaterally faltering before Bloomberg and his anti-gun cronies is truly outrageous, and Wal-Mart does deserve to be taken to task. But one must also understand that Wal-Mart’s actions have not occurred in a vacuum.

Gun owners need to realize that today we are reaping the rotten fruit that has stemmed from actions that some of our allies took in 1993. That’s when, supposedly in order to thwart legislation that would have imposed a waiting period on handgun purchases, a sizable contingent of gun owning compromisers pushed for an FBI-background check on guns sold by dealers.


Hey, it will just be an instant check,

they argued.

What harm can possibly come from that?


Well, 15 years later, we have more than enough documented examples.

The first abuses were reported by the General Accounting Office in 1996 when it found that decent Americans were being illegitimately denied the ability to purchase firearms because of outstanding traffic tickets or administrative errors.

And not too long after that, the Clinton administration found a way to effectively shut down gun shows — as the NICS computer system would “conveniently” crash over several weekends, preventing many gun sales from occurring.

Of course, Clinton’s crowning anti-gun achievement was to illegally deny gun purchases — again, using the instant background check — to military veterans suffering from things like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a practice that has resulted in up to 150,000 veterans losing their gun rights.

That practice illegitimately continued for almost a decade until it was “legalized” earlier this year when President Bush signed the Veterans Disarmament Act, a bill that passed without a recorded vote in the House and the Senate!

And, far from satisfying the gun-grabbers, the instant check system is now being used to call for legislation to permanently shut down gun shows, which are being characterized as instant check “loopholes.”

Keep in mind, none of the aforementioned infringements — the denials based on outstanding traffic tickets, computer crashes or PTSD — none of them could have happened without a background check system.

In the early ’90s, compromisers promised us that our gun rights would not be inconvenienced by the so-called instant check.

Well, tell that to the panicked gentleman who contacted Gun Owners of America earlier this month. He had recently bought a shotgun without any problem at all, but when he later returned to the same store to buy a handgun a week later, the FBI denied the purchase.

It turns out that another man with the same exact name (and a similar birthday) was guilty of robbery, and because of that, the good guy is now in the unenviable position of having to prove his innocence before he can exercise his Second Amendment rights. While he has submitted an appeal, officials have informed him there is no time limit for the FBI to respond to his appeal.

So much for having an “instant” check.

If you’re mad at Wal-Mart, that’s fine. But just remember that members of our own community — with their support of the instant check — gave Wal-Mart the tools it needed to further restrict our Second Amendment rights.