Walmart is no longer selling bullets for handguns. The superstore super power is taking other steps in terms of selling ammunition and guns and what it allows customers to bring into its stores.
It has become a social media tug-of-war because, a) everything becomes a social media tug-of-war and b) any and everything to do with guns makes everyone crazy.
The decision, to me, is completely understandable considering the two tragedies that have happened at Walmart stores this summer.
When things happen directly to you, your reactions are completely your own. And reports that a majority of the Walmart employees want these changes make this decision even more understandable.
But the decision leaves two questions: First, if you are passionate — for or against — Walmart's move, do you get equally worked up when private companies make decisions about their business practices, such as what they will or won't sell, or when they choose to open or close?
For example, does the baker who would not make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple get the same angst from liberals as the Walmart anti-ammunition decision is getting from the NRA-card-carrying crowd?
Shouldn't businesses be entitled to make their own business decisions, and if you do not like those decisions, well, take your business elsewhere?
While the gun control issue is complicated, can't we agree that background checks for all gun purchases would be a good first step? After all, a vast majority of Americans think so, according to numerous polls.
We as a country have suffered too much and too often to not make efforts to get our arms around this violence.
One of the lone voices against universal background checks comes from the editorial staff at the National Review, who wrote this last month:
"Absent further examination, 'universal background checks' appear to represent the inoffensive extension of an already existing principle. At present, the federal government mandates that an instant background check be run prior to the completion of all commercial and interstate firearms transactions. This being so, the argument runs, there can be nothing wrong with Washington extending that rule to private transfers, to non-commercial transfers, and to purely intrastate transfers.
"But there can, and there is. The idea is unconstitutional. It requires the establishment of a de facto federal gun registry — long a no-no in American politics. It would considerably inconvenience law-abiding gun owners while doing nothing to prevent the problem, mass shootings, to which it is being touted as a response. And, as even friendly studies from Washington and Colorado have shown, it doesn't work."
Our current "instant background checks" referenced above are simply laughable, not unlike the security measures we took at airports before 9/11. Have you been to a gun show? I have, and I am sure my 12-year-old could get a Glock with an extra C-note and a parental wink-wink-nod-nod.
Do airport security changes not violate search and seizure definitions? What about metal detectors? But we have not batted an eye at those changes because we are simply in a different time — facing a different enemy.
We can't regulate to prevent crazy; that's simply impossible. But accepting that defeatist attitude is counterproductive.
We might be able to agree that if expanded, universal background checks stop one disaffected, evil individual from getting a dangerous weapon or delaying the purchase long enough to allow that person to either get help or get caught, then the lives saved are way, way, way more important than the inconvenience caused by a three-day delay.
At least that's my thought.
Contact Jay Greeson at firstname.lastname@example.org.