How Walmart Helped Make Newtown Shooter’s AR-15 the Most Popular Assault Weapon in America

From The Nation:

When Adam Lanza entered Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday, December 14, inexplicably bent on ending as many lives as possible, he was carrying a Bushmaster AR-15 assault rifle and several high-capacity magazines. Sadly, this isn’t the first time the country has had to deal with the aftermath of a horrific shooting spree, nor is it the first time we’ve encountered an AR-15 in this context: only days earlier, it was the weapon of choice for a shooting at an Oregon mall that killed two people. Five months earlier, it was used by James Holmes in an attack that wounded fifty-eight people and killed twelve in an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater. And several years before that, a man and his teenage accomplice used a Bushmaster AR-15 to terrorize the Washington, DC, area with a series of random shootings.

Although it is not yet clear where the Bushmaster AR-15 used by Lanza (and registered to his mother) was purchased, the model is familiar to many Walmart shoppers. It’s on sale at about 1,700 Walmart stores nationwide, though the retail chain pulled the weapon from its website early this afternoon. While last week’s deadly rampage in Connecticut has finally and unmistakably highlighted the madness of making these weapons so readily available, it’s a concern many people with a Walmart in their community have been trying to address for much longer.


  1. As evil as Wal-mart is, in all fairness, they’re not the only place you can buy one of these guns. Is the criticism here that Wal-mart is generally a “family-oriented” store and shouldn’t sell guns? If so, I’m on board with that sentiment. But as the video clip in the preceding thread showed, you can find racks of semi-automatics in a gun store. If anything, Wal-mart should be credited with removing the Bushmaster from their site, although removing it from their shelves would be better step.

    A good approach for the government to take would be to limit the locations where guns can be purchased. Yes, the guns would still be accessible to criminals, but mere exposure is a form of advertisement, and having these guns presented like a smorgasbord every time people are shopping for household items presents a level of availability and temptation that would otherwise not be there.

    I guess what I’m saying is, Wal-mart isn’t the only retail outlet selling guns, so I wouldn’t single them out – they’re just part of the problem, not the problem. Just like almost every other business, they’ll sell whatever will make a buck wherever it’s legal. It’s the government that needs to step in and make sure that guns are sold in gun stores, not the Sporting Goods department.

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