Walmart under fire for pro-gun T-shirts

In wake of two shootings, T-shirts sold by third-party vendors on Walmart website ignite social media storm.Following a mass shooting at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas and a shooting at a Walmart in Southaven, Mississippi, the largest retailer in the United States is facing criticism for allowing the sale of pro-gun tee-shirts on its website [File: Luke E. Montavon/Bloomberg]

Following a mass shooting at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas and a shooting at a Walmart in Southaven, Mississippi, the largest retailer in the United States is facing criticism for allowing the sale of pro-gun tee-shirts on its website [File: Luke E. Montavon/Bloomberg]

Walmart Inc., already facing pressure for being a major vendor of guns and ammunition in the U.S. after a pair of shootings inside its stores, is feeling renewed heat on social media over a selection of pro-gun T-shirts for sale on its website from third-party vendors.

One shirt, for sale by a vendor called Tee’s Plus, suggests buyers can either be gun owners or victims. Another, offered by third-party seller Old Glory, is emblazoned with a crosshairs reading “gun control is being able to hit your target.”

Commenters on social media were divided on the gun owner shirt. Some called it “disgusting” and “horrifying,” while others argued that “most people in the country completely agree with the sentiment of this shirt.”

As news outlets began to report on the shirts, some of the original listings were no longer available.

Two people died in a shooting at a Walmart in Mississippi on July 30. More than 40 were shot in an unrelated attack Aug. 3 at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas. An additional shooting may have been thwarted Thursday when a gunman wearing body armor was stopped by an armed private citizen outside a Walmart in Springfield, Missouri.

A spokesman for Walmart did not immediately reply to a request for comment. The t-shirts weren’t being sold by Walmart itself, but by outside sellers who can sign up to advertise products on Walmart’s website.

As one of the country’s biggest firearms retailers, Walmart is a frequent target of anti-violence activists. In 2015, the company stopped selling military-style weapons, citing sluggish demand. Last year the company said it would increase the age to purchase firearms and ammunition to 21 years old.

It’s not the first time Walmart has gotten into hot water for controversial t-shirts for sale on its website. The retailer felt heat in 2017 after a third-party seller offered t-shirts that suggested killing journalists. The t-shirts read: “Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some assembly required.” Last year, its website offered t-shirts from third-party sellers with “IMPEACH 45” emblazoned across the front in big capital letters — a call to bring down the 45th U.S. president, Donald Trump.

–With assistance from Leslie Patton and Joe Deaux.

Maine: Bill banning sale of high-capacity gun magazines dies in committee

The Democratic-led Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted Friday against half a dozen gun control bills.

AUGUSTA, Maine — A committee vote Friday left Maine unlikely to move forward on legislation prohibiting the sale of high-capacity magazines, but lawmakers are still weighing other bills aimed at limiting access to firearms.

The Democratic-led Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted Friday against half a dozen gun control bills.

The bills received dozens of comments at public hearings last week from critics who warned of governmental overreach infringing on constitutional rights, and supporters who say Maine must address domestic violence homicides tied to firearms and rising rates of firearm suicide.

“I think it’s all about access, not taking away guns,” said Democratic Rep. Victoria Morales, a committee member. “Reducing access for those who are most vulnerable.”

The committee is set to consider five additional bills May 28. Committee Democratic House Chair Charlotte Warren said lawmakers need more time to go through such bills.

“We want to do it right,” she said.

Those bills include background checks for private firearm sales, 72-hour waiting periods for gun buyers, and criminalizing leaving unattended a loaded firearm that a child then inappropriately uses. Another bill would prevent the manufacture, import, sale, transfer and possession of 3D printed guns, with certain exceptions.

A Republican, meanwhile, proposes allowing the use of deadly force to prevent death or serious bodily injury to defend oneself, one’s home or another person.

Gun control efforts have long faced steep odds in the largely rural state, where hunters tout a long history of responsible gun ownership. The Democratic-led Legislature could still revive the bills, but such a move is seen as unlikely.

Voters in Maine, which allows licensed owners to carry guns in public as long as they are concealed, defeated a question on universal background checks backed by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2016, and Democratic Gov. Janet Mills has said Maine should respect the people’s will on the issue.

Explosive Investigation Uncovers Greed & Infighting at NRA, Shattering “Myth” of the Group’s Power

Is the National Rifle Association imploding? As the nation grieves over another deadly school shooting, we turn to look at how internal turmoil inside the NRA threatens the future of the gun lobbying group. A major new report published by The Trace in partnership with The New Yorker finds that while the NRA has blamed its recent financial woes on left-wing attacks on the Second Amendment, the real damage to the organization comes from within. Chief among the NRA’s problems is its three-decade-old relationship with Oklahoma-based public relations firm Ackerman McQueen. The firm, which is behind the NRA’s imaging, messaging and most of its initiatives, was paid more than $40 million dollars in 2017. We speak to Mike Spies, staff writer at The Trace.

Aurora shooting: Five dead in Illinois workplace attack

Police said the gunman was an ex-employee

Five people were killed and several others injured when a gunman opened fire at an industrial park in the US state of Illinois, police there say.

The gunman was also killed during an exchange of fire with police officers, a police spokeswoman said. Five police officers were shot and wounded.

The attack took place in Aurora, a suburb about 40 miles west of Chicago.

It comes a day after the first anniversary of a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 dead.

Friday’s shooting is reported to have taken place at Henry Pratt Company, a manufacturing firm that makes valves for large water pipes.

Police named the gunman as Gary Martin, 45, who they said had been an employee at the company.

Officers declined to speculate on a motive for the attack, but the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper is reporting that his family say he was made redundant two weeks ago and had been “stressed out”.

What have police said about the shooting?

Police received reports of an “active shooter” in Aurora at about 13:24 local time (19:24 GMT), Aurora police chief Kristen Ziman said at a press conference.

They were “fired upon immediately” when they arrived at the scene, she said.

Ms Ziman added that a rescue task force was quickly deployed to the industrial park, accompanied by the emergency services, including the fire department and paramedics.

Police secure the area following a shooting at the Henry Pratt Company in Aurora, Illinois, 15 February 2019Police secure the area following reports of a shooting at the Henry Pratt Company

Chris Southwood of the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police described the Aurora officers who attended and were shot as “courageous”.

“[These] officers and their colleagues did not hesitate to literally put their lives on the line today to stop further bloodshed,” Mr Southwood said in a statement.

Of the five officers wounded, two were airlifted to nearby trauma centres.

The names of the five people who were killed have not yet been released.

How have witnesses described the scene?

Witness John Probst, who works at the Henry Pratt Company, earlier told broadcaster ABC7 that he saw the attacker, whom he recognised as a colleague.

He said the man was carrying a handgun equipped with a laser sight, but this has yet to be confirmed by officials.

“One of the guys was up in the office [and] he said this person was shooting, and, he come running down and he was bleeding pretty bad, and the next thing you know he was walking back and forth, I heard more shots, and we just left the building,” Mr Probst said.

Police secure the area following a shooting at the Henry Pratt Company in Aurora, Illinois, 15 February 2019Multiple emergency calls were made to police when the shooting began

An employee at nearby Capitol Printing told ABC7 that they had hid in a closet when the shooting began.

Others in nearby buildings said they locked themselves in.

Police in Aurora, Colorado – where a man opened fire in a crowded movie theatre in 2012 – quickly tweeted that the incident was not happening in Colorado.

Presentational white spaceIllinois Senator Tammy Duckworth said: “This is a scary, sad day for all Illinoisans and Americans.”

President Donald Trump has been briefed on the incident, according to White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders.

One Year After Parkland, 1,200 More Kids Are Dead by Gunfire

FEBRUARY 14, 2019
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It’s been one year since the devastating massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School—the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that galvanized the nation to take action against gun violence and turned a generation of young people into activists. On February 14, 2018, a former student armed with a semiautomatic AR-15 entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and opened fire, gunning down 17 students, staff and teachers in just three minutes. It was one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history. Students who survived the massacre quickly came to national prominence as leading activists for gun control. We speak with Lois Beckett, senior reporter at The Guardian covering gun policy. Her latest piece is titled “’We can’t let fear consume us’: why Parkland activists won’t give up.”

Baltimore police begin cash-for-guns campaign to check violence!

Police hope to curb gun violence in a city where more than 300 people have been killed in each of the past four years.

After Massacre in California Bar, Will a Democrat-Controlled House Take Action on Gun Control?

STORY NOVEMBER 09, 2018

 
The city of Thousands Oaks, California, is mourning after a former marine opened fire at a country music bar Wednesday night, killing 12 people, mostly students. It was the deadliest mass shooting in the United States since the Parkland, Florida, school shooting in February. Police have identified the gunman as 28-year-old Ian David Long, a Marine veteran who had deployed to Afghanistan and had a history of mental health issues, including possible PTSD. The dead include 27-year-old Telemachus Orfanos, who survived the deadly Las Vegas massacre at a country music festival last year, only to be gunned down Wednesday night. We speak with Sarah Dachos, a Navy veteran and volunteer with the D.C. chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and a founding member of the Everytown Veterans Advisory Council.