A mass shooting at a Wal-Mart in El Paso left 22 people dead and 24 injured.

Never ones to let a good tragedy go to waste, Bernie Sanders used the horror to promote his ideas regarding employees having seats on corporate boards.

“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.”

Other liberals also decried the ease with which Americans can buy guns at the Arkansas-based superstores. Activist David Hogg tweeted “It’s harder to get cold pills than an AR-15.Something needs to change.”

petition to urge Wal-Mart to stop selling guns garnered 140,000 signatures by Tuesday. 

In the wake of this predictable media hysteria, one Business Insider journalist named Hayley Peterson set out to show just how easy it is to acquire a gun. 

It didn’t turn out the way she expected. 

First, she learned that Walmart gun-sales restrictions go beyond federal requirements. They no longer sell AR-15s, for example, or handguns.  Last year, they decided not to sell guns or ammunition to people under 21. Also, they only sell firearm to people whose background checks result in “green lights” even though federal law requires only the absence of a “red light” after a three-day waiting period.

Then, she had a difficult time even figuring out which stores sold guns.  After several frustrating calls and website searches, she found a store that did carry them.  

When she got there, she realized the sporting good section was far from the door, that the weapons were locked up, and that they had zip ties around the weapons (attached to a metal cord) the employees had to cut just to show customers.   Plus, only certain employees were allowed to sell them.   She had to come back the next day, since no authorized sellers were there that day. 

She left empty handed.

The next day, she went to a different store and made it to the “paper work filling out stage.”  It didn’t go as planned either:

The form asked several obvious questions: my name, address, and Social Security number. It also asked about my race, gender, and US citizenship status. 

Under a section called “certification of transferee,” it asked about my criminal record — whether I had ever been convicted of a felony, subject to a restraining order, or prohibited from purchasing a firearm, among other specifics. 

In red print, the form said that “an untruthful answer may subject you to criminal prosecution.” 

The seller told me that my background check would likely be completed within a few minutes after I finished the paperwork. Once the purchase was finalized, an employee would walk the gun out to my car with me. 

But I had only just finished printing my name when she stopped me and asked whether the address on my license matched my home address. I had moved since I obtained my license, and the addresses didn’t match. 

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.

Peterson left the store that day, once again, empty handed.

“Overall, the experience left me with the impression that buying a gun at Walmart is more complicated than I expected,” Peterson wrote, “and that Walmart takes gun sales and security pretty seriously.”

Kudos for Peterson for taking the time and effort to actually see whether the hysteria was justified. 

She verified what all gun owners know.  

It wasn’t.

Image Credit: Ted Swedenburg on Flickr

About The Author

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at MarkMeckler.com, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.

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