In this file:
· #GroceriesNotGuns: How supermarkets are influencing the gun control debate
In the last week, 38 (and counting) retail chains have adopted new policies to keep guns out of their stores.
· GALLUP: Americans' Views of NRA Become Less Positive
· Fox News: McDonald’s customers brandish guns, threaten employee over cold hamburgers
#GroceriesNotGuns: How supermarkets are influencing the gun control debate
In the last week, 38 (and counting) retail chains have adopted new policies to keep guns out of their stores.
by Jesse Hirsch, The New Food Economy
September 12th, 2019
Less than a week after the recent mass shooting that left 22 people dead in an El-Paso, Texas, Walmart, a pro-gun activist wandered into another Walmart, in Missouri, wearing full body armor. He was carrying an AR-style assault rifle and 100 rounds of ammunition, and had a semi-automatic handgun on his hip. He reportedly told authorities that he was testing whether “his Second Amendment rights would be honored in a public area.” The man, 20-year-old Dmitriy Andreychenko, was surprised that customers seemed upset by his experiment.
To some observers, perhaps less accustomed to encountering fully armed civilians at the supermarket, Andreychenko’s stunt might have seemed beyond brazen. But legally, the licensed gun owner was entirely within his rights; Missouri is an open-carry state, which means you are free to bring your gun just about anywhere without a hassle. “This is Missouri,” Andreychenko reportedly told investigators at the time. “I understand if we were somewhere else like New York or California, people would freak out.”
It was Missouri, but it was also a Walmart—the nation’s largest supermarket chain, selling $184.2 billion in groceries last year (55% of its annual revenue). The retailer is also a purveyor of guns and ammunition, and, more recently, a retailer that does not want visibly armed customers in its stores. In the wake of El Paso and Andreychenko, two employee deaths from a shooting incident in a Mississippi Walmart, and an armed duel in a Louisiana Walmart, the company made some high-profile changes to its corporate policies last Tuesday. In addition to significantly reducing the types of guns and ammo it sells, the company is “respectfully requesting that customers no longer openly carry firearms into our stores or Sam’s Clubs in states where ‘open carry’ is permitted,” according to a statement from CEO Doug McMillon.
Walmart’s appeal was soon followed by a cascade of other national supermarkets and pharmacies—including Kroger, Wegmans, CVS, Walgreens, and, most recently, Publix, Aldi and Meijer—in implementing no-open-carry policies. But will these policies have any substantive impact on reducing overall gun violence, or on shifting the national dialogue surrounding guns? It’s a fascinating moment for gun control, when corporate decisions in the supermarket sector are outpacing legislative decisions on Capitol Hill.
“We’ve got this impasse at the political level, where our leaders seem paralyzed to pass new gun control laws,” says Shahla Hebets, who runs an advertising and marketing consultancy for large corporations. “I think we’re going to see more and more brands step in to do what our politicians can’t, or won’t.”
You’re excused if you’ve never seen a sign in a restaurant or grocery store, telling you whether or not your guns are welcome. On a recent visit to Texas, this reporter was bemused to see a sign featured prominently in Whole Foods, informing customers of its strict no-gun policy. Does anyone really need a pistol while they compare prices on organic melons? But for some gun owners, especially those in open-carry states, the answer would be a resounding “yes.”
“Curious if Walmart will now provide armed security at all of its stores now that the company has made clear it doesn’t like individuals who do their duty to carry and do their best to protect themselves. (the answer is obviously no),” wrote conservative commentator Katie Pavlich, on Twitter last week.
Pavlich was echoing a common refrain among 2nd-amendment advocates, that American citizens have a right to defend themselves at all times, whether they’re picking up a case of Nilla wafers at Costco, grabbing a Starbucks latte, or sleeping peacefully in their homes. Policies like Walmart’s, they argue, remove their constitutionally mandated right to self-defense. Further, they claim that spaces without guns can actually invite violence from bad actors. Walmart is now a “soft target,” they say, just like elementary schools.
“Basically you are wearing a neon sign saying, come and get me because I’m a law abiding citizen and I have no way to protect myself,” wrote Twitter user Terri Lynn Bedford.
The evidence for this vulnerability being exploited is spotty at best. Take, for instance, the recent El Paso shooting, where there were armed customers present in the store, none of whom were able to stop the shooter. According to Jake Charles, executive director of the Center for Firearms Law at Duke University, the idea that a good guy with a gun will stop a bad guy with a gun is more a matter of faith than a provable assertion. “It’s a classic argument, that criminals will target these vulnerable, gun-free spaces,” he says. “But data surrounding this concept is hard to decipher and easily contested.”
Beyond the practicalities of customer self-defense, Walmart’s corporate decision has also sparked a discussion of values. On one hand, gun safety advocates like Moms Demand—which ramped up pressure on Walmart using the social media hashtag #groceriesnotguns—are celebrating these corporate shifts. On the other hand, some gun owners feel that any anti-gun message from a brand or retailer is indicative of incompatible values.
“[I]t would certainly seem that the nation’s largest retailer would prefer gun owners to leave their rights in the car,” wrote the editor of Concealed Carry magazine. “I’d hate to offend them with either my presence or my patronage, and I’d far rather spend my money with those who share my belief in our God-given rights anyway.”
Thirty-one states currently allow licensed gun owners to openly carry firearms without a special permit, while 15 others allow permitted citizens to do so. Private businesses are allowed to set their own policies, but that’s not a debate many chains have wanted to engage in.
For a massive retailer like Walmart, there is a certain calculus that goes into decisions like this. Simply:
more, including links
Americans' Views of NRA Become Less Positive
· 48% have a favorable opinion, 49% an unfavorable opinion of NRA
· Opinions had been more positive than negative since 1999
· Low point in NRA favorability was in 1995
By Jeffery M. Jones, GALLUP
Sept 13, 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans' image of the National Rifle Association, or NRA, has grown more negative in the past year with the percentage viewing it favorably dropping below 50% for only the second time in 30 years. Roughly equal percentages of U.S. adults now say they have an unfavorable (49%) opinion of the NRA as say they have a favorable one (48%). For most of Gallup's 1989-2019 trend, including in 2018, opinions of the NRA were more positive than negative.
The latest update is based on an August 15-30 Gallup poll, conducted after mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio earlier the same month. In addition to the fallout from the mass shootings, the NRA has also been in the news for internal power struggles that led two top officials to resign as well as reports of financial trouble for the organization. Also, last week, the city of San Francisco passed a resolution naming the NRA a "domestic terrorist organization."
Only once in Gallup's trend have opinions of the NRA been worse than now. In 1995, 51% had a negative opinion and 42% had a positive opinion of the group.
The 1995 survey was conducted shortly after the organization sent out a widely criticized fundraising letter. The letter, citing the 1994 assault weapons ban, referred to federal agents as "jack-booted thugs" who were trying to take guns away from citizens. The reference prompted former President George H.W. Bush to discontinue his membership in the NRA in protest.
In Gallup's 11 readings on the NRA, an average of 53% have rated it favorably and 39% unfavorably.
Over the past year, the NRA's favorability has fallen among Democrats (from 24% to 15%) and independents (52% to 46%), but not among Republicans (88% to 87%).
The percentage of gun owners expressing positive opinions of the NRA declined slightly, from 75% to 68%, with little change among non-owners (39% to 37%).
Personal Protection Primary Reason for Owning Guns
One of the NRA's primary purposes is to promote the interests of gun owners. The survey finds 32% of Americans reporting they personally own a gun.
The survey asked gun owners to indicate why they owned a gun, updating a question last asked in 2013. The motivations today are similar to what they were then -- with the majority of gun owners, 61%, saying they own a firearm for protection. One third indicate they own a gun for hunting, while 12% use it for "recreation" or "sport."
The NRA is known for its steadfast defense of the Second Amendment, which states that the government shall not infringe on citizens' right to bear arms. Five percent of gun owners cite exercising their Second Amendment rights as the reason they own a gun. That claim is made by 9% of Republican gun owners, but less than 1% of Democratic gun owners.
Every mass shooting in the U.S. brings renewed call for stronger gun control measures, and typically, resistance to such calls by the National Rifle Association. With Congress returning to session this week for the first time since the El Paso and Dayton shootings, gun control advocates are pushing for legislative action on the issue.
The House of Representatives earlier this year passed a universal background check bill and are considering additional measures. It is unclear what, if any, action the Republican-led Senate will take, but a bipartisan group of senators has been talking with President Donald Trump, who has stated he is interested in meaningful gun legislation. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has deferred to President Trump on the issue, saying he will not bring up legislation unless the president supports it.
Though the NRA has typically been successful in scuttling gun control legislation, its attempts to do so at this time come when public support for the group is the lowest it has been in 20 years.
doucment, plus chart, table, link to complete questin, responses, trends
McDonald’s customers brandish guns, threaten employee over cold hamburgers
By Alexandra Deabler | Fox News
Sep 13, 2019
Two Florida men reportedly pulled out guns and threatened a McDonald’s employee after being served cold hamburgers.
The encounter allegedly took place around 4 a.m. Monday at a Palm Coast McDonald’s. Jawan Davis Jr. and Jordon Dunn, both 20, ordered five hamburgers at the drive-thru. According to The Dayton Beach News-Journal, Davis felt the hamburgers were cold and demanded the employee remake them.
“I don’t play about my food,” Davis reportedly said.
The pair then brandished weapons and threatened the employee, according to reports.
The McDonald’s employee allegedly agreed to remake the order, but went into the back and called the police.
Flagler County deputies arrived on the scene and arrested the two, who were still in the drive-thru line.
According to the report, officers found a BB gun, an unloaded handgun and a small bag of marijuana inside the vehicle.
Both men were arrested...