A coalition of anti-gun advocates are calling on Mayor Bloomberg this morning to join them in rejecting Walmart’s plans to expand to New York City in light of a report that the big box retailer is trying to increase its sales of guns and ammunition as a way to boost its bottom line.
“The mayor needs to step up and renounce Walmart’s awful decision,” said Jackie Rowe Adams of Harlem Mothers Saved. “We have seen what guns have done to our communities, and bringing in a Walmart to our communities would send the wrong message- that we condone their gun sale policies which put people’s lives in danger.”
Walmart has indicated that they would like to build their first retail outlet in the five boroughs, but so far a number of elected officials have tried to block them. Mayor Bloomberg has said that the government should not interfere with a private company’s rights to do business whereever they see fit.
“As the largest seller of firearms and ammunition in America, Wal-Mart does not belong in New York City,” said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. “I urge Mayor Bloomberg to continue his leadership on gun control by joining the fight against Wal-Mart coming to our City.”
The advocates note that Walmart decision to expand its gun sales and expand into New York City come as the retailer has faced 7 consecutive quarters of same store sales decline. Five years ago, the store agreed to stop selling hunting rifles and bullets at all but a third of its stores.
“The Walmart charm offensive ends today with news that the conglomerate plans to expand considerably the sale of weapons and ammunition,” said Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer. “If the city wants to remain a leader on gun control, we need to take a hard stand against Walmart’s decision and make it clear that any corporation that looks for new markets to sell guns and fosters a culture of violence is not welcome in New York.”
The Bloomberg administration passes along a statement pointing out that Walmart is actually a responsible gun seller since they go beyond the federal guidelines in order to insure that guns stay out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.
“With Congress and the Administration unable to put in place common-sense rules to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, drug addicts and the mentally ill, our coalition of Mayors Against Illegal Guns reached out to Wal-Mart, and the company voluntarily agreed to go above and beyond what federal law requires to prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands,” said John Feinblatt, Bloomberg’s chief policy advisor. “If every gun dealer in the country adopted Wal-Mart’s approach, or if Congress required it, thousands of lives would be saved every year.”
And Steve Restivo, the director of community affaris for the big box retailer, points out that Walmart will not sell any guns or ammunition should they open a store in the five boroughs.
“Walmart will not sell firearms in any future New York City store. We’re proud of our participation in ‘Mayors Against Illegal Guns’ and will remain committed to the safe and responsible sale of firearms in areas of the country where they are sold.”