by Robin Shine
Casting doubts of effectiveness, Wal-Mart and the National Rifle Association decided to make a showing Thursday at the White House gun control talks amidst the spate of task force meetings spearheaded by Vice President Joe Biden.
A series of meetings have been held this week with an array of organizations including the NRA and other gun organizations, sportsmen, grassroots pro and anti-gun advocacy groups. Additionally, the vice president is scheduled to meet with members of the video-game and entertainment industry, underscoring their roles and will join the debate over gun violence in response to Sandy Hook, the Newtown, Connecticut elementary school massacre.
Chillingly, after the Connecticut attack Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest gun retailer has reportedly sold out of semi-automatic rifles in five states, including Pennsylvania, Kansas and Alabama, according to a Wednesday report from Bloomberg.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney characterized the event as a process to gain input in addition to the vice president’s recommendations as he is running up against an end-of-the-month deadline to produce a set of proposals ordered by President Obama.
“Knowing our senior leaders could not be in Washington this week, we spoke in advance with the Vice President’s office to share our perspective. We underestimated the expectation to attend the meeting on Thursday in person, so we are sending an appropriate representative to participate,” Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar said in a statement released early Wednesday.
Among the gun-advocacy groups attending the meeting Wednesday were Arizona for Gun Safety, the Brady Campaign, the Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus and Mayors Against Illegal Guns, reported Fox news.
One key proposal Biden is actively pursuing is a mandate that independent gun seller’s work with certified dealers like Wal-Mart to conduct background checks on customers and process their transactions. If passed, such a law could
send independents to Wal-Mart stores, further igniting the company’s already explosive gun and ammunition sales even higher, experts say. Currently, federal law allows individuals to sell guns to others without performing background checks or keeping records of the sale in many states.
Universal background checks are required in California private sales of guns have been regulated for over 20 years, as all gun sales must be processed through certified dealers, according to Phil Cook, a professor of economics and public policy at Duke University.
California Senator Dianne Feinstein (D) has proposed renewing a tighter version of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban which expired in September 2004 that includes banning more than 120 specifically named firearms.
Mired in the controversy are Biden’s recommendations that are likely to include proposals for legislation, and the executive action Obama can sign into law without Congressional approval.
Robin Prins is a business reporter who now consults as a professional writer and public relations specialist (and also business reporting when the opportunity beckons). Publications ranged from community daily newspapers to wire services and Wall Street newsletters culling insider information from DC insiders. Names like Institutional Investor, UPI, Bureau of National Affairs, U.S. Banker Magazine, Real Estate Forum Magazine . Also freelanced for Barron’s, Washington Post, L.A. Times, LA Daily News. Active with civic duties and enjoy photography, museums, and cultural events. Publisher of Businessbackstory.com website, still in formation.