- The Washington Times - Friday, August 16, 2019

The head of Walmart said Congress should consider re-starting the so-called ‘assault weapons’ ban.

Doug McMillon, the chief executive officer of the nation’s largest retailer, made the suggestion Thursday during a conference call about the company’s quarterly earnings, according to a copy of his prepared remarks.

“We do not sell military-style rifles, and we believe the reauthorization of the Assault Weapons ban should be debated to determine its effectiveness in keeping weapons made for war out of the hands of mass murderers,” said Mr. McMillion. “We must also do more to understand the root causes that lead to this type of violent behavior.”

Officially known as the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act, the so-called assault weapons ban enacted in 1994 prohibited the sale of certain semi-automatic weapons and large-capacity magazines before expiring a decade later.

Gun control advocates have rallied since for Congress to legislate further reform, particularly following mass-shootings like the one that erupted at a Walmart in Texas this month.

Twenty-two people were killed after a gunman opened fire inside a Walmart in El Paso on August 3, and another nine lost their lives due to a separate mass-shooting hours later in Dayton, Ohio. Semi-automatic firearms were used in both attacks, spurring calls in the weeks since for lawmakers to reconsider federal gun laws.

Walmart stopped selling “military-style rifles” in 2015, and currently the company only sells handguns at its stores in Alaska, said Mr. McMillion, according to his remarks.

Other firearms are still sold at Walmart, however, and its CEO said the retailer is responsible for roughly 2 percent and 20 percent of the nation’s gun and ammunition sales, respectively.

Mr. McMillion gave no indication that Walmart would curb firearm sales further, according to the remarks, drawing the ire of advocates opposed to the store selling guns entirely.

“There’s no debate: Gun reforms save lives and the largest retailer in the world has a responsibility to do everything it can to help Americans build safer communities,” said Igor Volsky, founder and executive director of Guns Down America.

“It’s time for Walmart to use its enormous leverage to push our congressional leaders to act by announcing it’s ending gun sales, stopping donations to NRA-backed lawmakers, and actively lobbying for gun reform, including a ban on military-style weapons,” he said in a statement, CBS News reported.

Two-third of registered voters polled following the El Paso and Dayton shootings said they are in favor of banning the sale of assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons, according to the results of a Fox News poll released Wednesday this week.

More recently, the chair of the House Judiciary Committee said Friday that the panel will reconvene early next month to consider gun control bills.

“For far too long, politicians in Washington have only offered thoughts and prayers in the wake of gun violence tragedies,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, New York Democrat and the committee’s chairman. “Thoughts and prayers have never been enough. We must act.”

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