Monday, January 7, 2013

Walmart vs. Assault Rifles

I am confused.

Gun opponents claim that gun control laws disarm criminals. They don't, never have, FBI statistics show that increasing legitimate gun ownership -- makes all forms of violent crimes, not just shootings, go down. At least it did in the cities and states that increased people carrying concealed, and towns that required all homeowners to own and possess a firearm in the home, over the last decade and more.

So one point of contention is the so-called "assault rifle". Often a rifle style that has been used, in the past to distant past, on the battle field (as how many weapons from knives and rocks have not?). Like the long rifles of the Revolutionary war these had the advantage of having the problems debugged, of getting ammunition and parts available, and having a corps of trained users steadily entering the civilian market place. We sometimes refer to them as "veterans".

The AR/AK type rifle is often used for hunting. Now, here comes my surprise. Walmart sells stuff. If folk will buy it, and Walmart can make a moderate markup and sell it -- most often it goes on the shelf. There are a few things they do as a service to the community, including handing out state literature on hunting and fishing seasons, selling hunting and fishing licenses and stamps. And ammunition and guns, where legal. Guns used to hunt, or paintball guns, since there is a market.

And BB guns, used to teach youngsters the fundamentals of gun handling, safety, and marksmanship. This is important. In case of emergency, we want as many trained shooters as possible, if ever called to service. The better prepared to serve our children are, and we are, the less likely some bandit, pirate, or enemy nation is to try something aggressive against us.

So, Walmart sells guns, mostly for hunting. They never claimed otherwise. They call where they sell guns variously "outdoor sports", "sporting goods", "hunting and fishing". No self defense, no "Hey this gun is great on bad guys!" promotions. Hunting guns.

Just like the Bushmaster .223. Which is sold by Walmart as a hunting gun. McDonalds didn't stop selling coffee because that lady in Alberquerque scalded herself. Yes, a semi-automatic gun shooting NATO rounds could find a place on the battle field. The framers of the Constitution, and the Congress that passed the Militia law, expected no less.

So, I am confused. Why does anyone worried about assault weapons care about what Walmart sells or doesn't sell for hunting?