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Wal-Mart Workers On Pistol Patrol As Law Lets Texans Tote Guns

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Wal-Mart Workers On Pistol Patrol As Law Lets Texans Tote Guns

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By Lauren Etter and Shannon Pettypiece, Bloomberg News (TNS)

AUSTIN, Texas — Managers at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in Texas have a new task to add to their list of duties: asking customers if they have a permit to carry a handgun.

To comply with state liquor rules, the world’s biggest retailer sent a written notice last month to stores that sell alcohol, telling managers to ensure that customers who openly carry firearms under a new law have licenses. Cashiers or door greeters who see someone with a gun are to alert the highest- ranking employee, who is to approach the customer and ask to see the paperwork.

“We do try to ensure that people have a licensed firearm,” said Wal-Mart spokesman Brian Nick. “We are giving direction to our store employees to ask for a license as our management sees appropriate.”

The notice was sent out in anticipation of the Lone Star State’s open-carry law, which went into effect Jan. 1. It made Texas the nation’s most populous state to allow citizens with a permit to carry handguns openly in a holster.

The measure has put retailers in a quandary, forcing them to take sides in one of the nation’s most fraught debates. Gun- rights activists are boycotting stores that forbid firearms, saying people shouldn’t be punished for exercising their rights. Gun-control advocates, meanwhile, are shunning stores that allow customers to bear arms, saying no one should have to shop where they feel unsafe.

Stuck in the middle are retailers loath to risk losing business from either side. Dozens of stores and restaurants across Texas, including San Antonio-based HEB Grocery Co., one of the state’s largest food retailers, have banned openly carried guns. That’s incurred the ire of activists who have vowed to shop elsewhere. Others, such as Cincinnati-based Kroger Co., have chosen not to ban firearms carried legally, inviting the scorn of gun-control advocates promising a boycott of their own.

Wal-Mart’s position is unusual because many of its stores sell beer and wine. That’s put the company in the cross-hairs of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, which prohibits unlicensed handguns in establishments that sell such products for off-premises consumption. An establishment can lose its liquor license if it “knowingly allows” a person to bring an illegal firearm on the premises, said Chris Porter, spokesman for the agency.

Previously a shopper could have been walking the aisles with a concealed weapon — legal in Texas for two decades — and store clerks wouldn’t have known. Under the new law, the only way to ensure compliance is to ask a customer with a gun for a permit.

“Now that it’s open carry, that creates a new space that you have to cover,” said George Kelemen, chief executive officer of the Texas Retailers Association. Stores like Wal-Mart want “to make absolutely sure that the message they convey is, ‘We welcome your patronage, but we sell alcohol and we don’t want to risk losing the ability to do that.”’

Some companies are trying to walk a fine line by publicly opposing guns in their Texas stores, while stopping short of posting state-issued signs that serve as a legal notice that firearms are prohibited. The coffee giant Starbucks Corp. has requested that customers who aren’t law-enforcement personnel refrain from bringing firearms of any kind into stores, but hasn’t issued a ban, according to spokeswoman Jaime Riley. Target Corp. has also asked customers not to carry guns openly, even though it hasn’t displayed the signs prohibiting the practice, said spokeswoman Molly Snyder.

That balancing act isn’t sitting well with gun-control advocates. The Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America has begun targeting stores that have publicly opposed the open-carry law but haven’t displayed the official signs prohibiting it. The group is affiliated with Everytown for Gun Safety, a group backed by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg that advocates for stricter laws. The ex-mayor is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent company Bloomberg LP.

“The strongest statement businesses can make for their customers’ safety and care is getting that sign up,” said Alexandra Chasse, a spokeswoman for the Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action.

Wal-Mart, which itself sells rifles and shotguns, says it’s asking customers to show a pistol permit only in Texas stores that sell alcohol. When it comes to allowing guns in stores nationwide, the company says its policy is to follow all local, state and federal laws, said Nick.

Still, its stance has begun to trouble gun-rights activists as they walk into their local Supercenter with pistols on their hips.

“I find it offensive,” said C.J. Grisham, president of gun- rights group Open Carry Texas, who has heard from members who shop at Wal-Mart that they have been asked for permits. “I don’t want to be treated suspect by a place that I’m shopping at.”

(Etter reported from Austin and Pettypiece from New York)

©2016 Bloomberg News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Photo: Walmart via Wikimedia Commons

 

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24 Comments

  1. Eleanore Whitaker January 9, 2016

    Texas Walmartians doing a replay of Dodge City? Do Texans not get the idea that there is a time and a place for everything and guns are not necessary for these “ignernts” to do their shopping? What a lunatic state. No surprise there isn’t much tourism there. Who on earth would want to tour a state with more guns than people?

    Reply
    1. David January 9, 2016

      Eleanore!!! Maybe those people trying to get out of that cesspool called New Joisey?

      Reply
      1. Eleanore Whitaker January 9, 2016

        David…Maybe that’s why Steve Forbes lives in NJ?
        Why NJ has Princeton University and it No. 3 in Solar Energy in the US? Why NJ is also known as the No. 1 high tech industry state according to the US GAO?>

        The only billionaires you have in Texas are the Big Oil Big Daddies about to lose their shirts in the Oil industry..oh gee…guess you’ll lose your job and that big mouth bragging.

        Because West Texas has white patches popping up from underground cesspools of oil? You have nothing to brag about Mr. Blowhard…The only people who move to Texas don’t stay..I should know..my nephew was moved to Texas by his company and stayed 12 years before he left because “in Texas, if you aren’t born in Texas, you’ll always be an outsider.” Back to your Bible Thumping BS…

        Reply
        1. David January 9, 2016

          Eleanore!!! Malcolm Forbes is a Republican! He likes Trump! He was raised in New Joisey. We have quite a few rich who aren’t oil men (see Dell for example). Texas is growing daily–just not from Obomo illegals coming in (see Toyota moving from California). I certainly hope that Yankees like you stay in your cesspool!

          Reply
          1. Eleanore Whitaker January 10, 2016

            Yes..I know that Texas Oil Boy…He lives in MY state. Which only proves what you CON me do. You move into states you know you can rip off. Forbes is a publishing mega billionaire. the only thing Texas grow in is more dependent on our states for your federal dollars. Your state hires and allows more illegals to work as maids and landcapers. Sorry but you can’/t continue to put on that Big Rich Texas That Whole Other Country Act and think we won’t slam your state for its helpings of $1.78 for every $1 you pay in taxes while my state gets a lousy 52 cents for our $1. MY state is supporting yours. There is NO other way to see that.

            Reply
          2. David January 10, 2016

            Eleanore!!!! Of course there is another way to see it. That way is to thank Obomo and the Demorat Congress that created that situation and let it flourish! I think I am going to have a Lone Star beer and enjoy thinking about that!

            Reply
          3. Eleanore Whitaker January 11, 2016

            Nice try…But who was President from 2004 to 2008? When the 8 million Americans lost jobs thanks to Bush the Texas Jerk handing out 3 tax cuts in 8 years to rich men like you who don’t need onedime of our tax dollars. And do explain how the hell a Harvard MBA like Bush missed that Sept. 2008 Financial Meltdown and the TARP that Bush promoted without any time frame for repayment? You need to leave Texas more often. You are incredibly obtuse and ignorant to facts that have already been proven. Bush the Tush and his Laura Adora spent more time on vacations and playing with Saudi Princes for 8 years…but you have the balls to lob that BS on Obama? How about I post that picture of suck up Big Oil Bush and the Saudi Prince holding hands that was in every media in the country? Too bad you Texans live in such mass isolation of the rest of the country. NO one wants a Texan in any state but Texas…YOur champagne appetities on beer swilling pocketbooks costs the rest of the country too much. Nothing will please me more than watching Big Oil sink further and further down, taking Texas blowhards with it.

            Reply
          4. David January 11, 2016

            Eleanore!!!! We were talking about Texas getting $1.72 from the Feds for every dollar put in. Poor New Joisey only getting $.52 🙁 I told you to ask why Obomo and the Democratic Congress had until 2014 and didn’t change that? Maybe because it was money going to house/feed illegal immigrants that Obomo was allowing in? Or, maybe it was because “Everything better in Texas”?

            Reply
          5. Eleanore Whitaker January 11, 2016

            Math not your strong suit is it? When NJ and the rest of the Dem states get less and more is flushed by the Republican House Majority to their own states, the president has NO voice in that. He is the executve branch..not the legislative branch of government like the House whose major duty is to allocate and disperse tax dollars.

            So, Cowboy..you want to explain how the GOP once again dumped $16 billion into Republican Oil states while they denied ANY funding to Dem states for road repairs and transportation.

            Just like when Big Mouth Rand Paul claimed NY and NJ Should pay out of state taxes for the $22 billion Hurricane Sandy cost and then refused funding to Ground Zero workers. 5 months later that jerkoff Paul begged for funds for flooding in his state. Now, Texas did the same. Sorry, you cause those disasters by polluting the air over your oil refineries. Now you want our help? Drown. Who cares?

            Reply
          6. David January 11, 2016

            Eleanore!!!! Your boy Obomo has the power of veto. But, I guess he decided not to use it. Also, the Demorats controlled Congress ’08 to ’10. Didn’t change things either.
            I wouldn’t waste any Federal spending on Demorat States either. They don’t deserve it. In fact, we should consider raising the taxes on people that elect Demorat Senators, Reps, and Governors for being so stupid. Don’t you think?

            Reply
  2. Bud Friend January 9, 2016

    I or my wife would not think of going into an establishment where there are open guns.

    Hey, we live in a civilized society (I think). We’re not against guns, by any means, but get real people.

    Reply
    1. Otto Greif January 9, 2016

      Where do you live?

      Reply
    1. Hueight January 9, 2016

      Perhaps an updated map is in order.

      Reply
      1. Otto Greif January 10, 2016

        By allowing open carry Texas is finally catching up to what liberal states have been doing for years.

        Reply
        1. David January 11, 2016

          Finally!

          Reply
  3. dtgraham January 10, 2016

    How crazy is it that there was far more gun control in the wild west of the 19th century than there is today. Towns like Tombstone, Deadwood and Dodge had much more restrictive gun laws than similar towns today. You had to turn your guns in to the Marshall when entering and didn’t get them back until you left. Gunfighters like John Wesley Hardin and a young William Bonney (Billy the Kid) were forced to hand their guns over to Abilene Marshall Wild Bill Hickok (true), but these Walmart clowns can open carry?

    They just need some Wild Bills in those Walmarts, that’s all.

    Reply
    1. David January 10, 2016

      Wasn’t that the time they didn’t let women vote? And queers were hanged? Sure makes you want to go back to Abilene in those days doesn’t it? Oh wait…maybe not!

      Reply
      1. dtgraham January 10, 2016

        Wild Bill made sure you didn’t get shot at the General Store though. Now Bungalow Bill can shoot you at Walmart.

        Reply
        1. David January 10, 2016

          You are frightened, aren’t you? C’mon! Admit it!

          Reply
          1. dtgraham January 11, 2016

            There’s just something about a mass murderer pointing an AR-15 at me that gives me the willies. Don’t know about you.

            Reply
          2. David January 11, 2016

            Never happened to me. But, if it did, I would want to be able to defend myself rather than dying on my knees. Oh, I forgot, that’s how you libtards usually live — on your knees begging for the Government to provide for you. Simpering weasel.

            Reply
          3. dtgraham January 11, 2016

            I know you said that you wouldn’t want to go back to those days, but you do realize that you’re advocating shoot-out at the OK Corral everywhere you go.

            Reply
          4. David January 11, 2016

            Isn’t happening in states with open and concealed carry — and, I don’t expect it to.

            Reply

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