Gun Violence Survivors to Protest Assault Weapon Sales

Group will gather at Danbury Walmart urging retailer to stop the sale of assault weapons.

A group of gun violence survivors are set to protest Tuesday outside a Danbury Walmart to demand the national retailer stop the sale of assault weapons and munitions.

The protesters plan to deliver a petition signed by over 250,000 citizens nationwide urging Walmart, the nations largest gun retailer, to halt sales immediately, according to a press release by the survivor group SumOfUs.

“If Walmart wants to call itself a family-friendly store, it needs to stop profiting off dangerous weapons designed to kill large numbers of people,” said Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, executive director of SumOfus. “Walmart has an opportunity to help put an end to these tragedies and we demand that it join us in saying enough.”

The letter, drafted and signed by shooting survivors and relatives of shooting victims from the tragedies at Virginia Tech, Tucson, AZ and Aurora, CO, will be delivered at Walmart, 67 Newtown Rd., Danbury, on Tuesday, Jan. 15 at 11 a.m.

Below is the full letter to be delivered:

“Dear Mr. Duke:

For families across Newtown, Conn., this past holiday season was not a time of joy and celebration but rather a period of profound grief and mourning. They spent their days burying loved ones and their nights wondering why. Children’s gifts remained unopened under the Christmas tree. The empty seat at the dinner table was a somber reminder that this nightmare was in fact reality.

While we cannot imagine the particular horror that the Newtown families have experienced, we are regrettably all too familiar with the painful impact that senseless shootings can have on everyday Americans. As survivors of gun violence and the families of its victims, we write to seek your help and urge you to act so that others do not have to suffer as we have.

For years, your company has reaped massive profits from the sale of military-style assault weapons, including the Bushmaster Patrolman’s Carbine M4A3 Rifle – a semiautomatic firearm similar to the gun used to murder 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Weapons like these are designed to kill large numbers of people as quickly as possible, and they are available for purchase in Wal-Mart retail locations across the country.

It is puzzling why a family-friendly store like Wal-Mart would sell such weapons just aisles away from the strollers and school supplies. But what is perhaps even more puzzling is why your company never fulfilled its promise to refrain from selling assault weapons. It was only eight years ago, afterall, that Wal-Mart was hailed as a model of corporate responsibility for giving its assurances to U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Dianne Feinstein that the store would not carry these guns after the federal assault weapons ban expired.

Erik Winborn, Wal-Mart’s Vice President for National Government Relations at the time, said in the September 2004 announcement: “Wal-Mart only sells firearms and ammunition appropriate for sporting or hunting purposes, and that will continue to be our focus. We will not be carrying assault weapons.”

Yet any Wal-Mart shopper could easily tell by looking around the store that Mr. Winborn’s statement is simply not true. Assault weapons of all brands and models continue to adorn your shelves, from Sig Sauer M400s to Colt LE6920s.

We know the horrific capacity of these weapons to wreak havoc on our communities because we have witnessed it firsthand. They have no place in our streets and in our homes, and we strongly insist that you honor your 2004 pledge to ensure they have no place in your stores either. Doing so will help save countless lives and prevent other families from enduring the pain we carry with us every day.

Over the last several years, you shamefully decided that your company’s earnings were more important than keeping your word. Today, we appeal to you not as business leaders but as Americans. Wal-Mart should do the right thing and put families first, lest the next mass shooting is carried out with an assault weapon sold in your stores.”

L.A. January 15, 2013 at 12:30 PM
I would sign the petition too!! Where can my friends and I sign??
L.A. January 15, 2013 at 12:32 PM
250.000 signature is nothing!!!!!!!!!
H. Ferguson January 15, 2013 at 02:50 PM
The photo was taken at the Swiss military museum in Morges, Switzerland, not your local Walmart. Those guns are Swiss military only and not certainly available to the general public.
Bobby Caselnova January 15, 2013 at 07:09 PM
The walmart stores around here don't even sell firearms anymore. What are these guys even protesting? Do they know?
Wondering January 15, 2013 at 07:38 PM
If Wal-mart were a franchise operation and each store was independently owned and operated, I would agree with you. But it is a national operation with central ownership which made national promises (subsequently broken). Therefore, I believe that it is reasonable for people to picket the ownership at the store closest to Newtown.
Mary Davis January 16, 2013 at 01:00 PM
I will sign a petition encouraging Wal-Mart to continue if not expand their firearms and ammunition sales. Now more than ever I need the means to protect my family and children from bad guys in the streets and bad guys in Washington DC. Don't try to enslave me and my children to tyranny.
Andrew Turkenkopf January 16, 2013 at 02:21 PM
Wow, i don't remember being enslaved or the rest of the country being enslaved anytime recently. Or a gun stopping it. And with people's tendency to lose temper easily, over slight offenses, i would rather not every dim bulb be carrying a gun in public. Anyhoo, as 3-D printing technology becomes more viable, everyone can make their own guns and high-capacity magazines. I for one hopes someone comes up with some easy methods for thwarting drone surveillance, including thermal cameras/sensors. Will it be a crime to "take down" a drone over ones private property? Or to interfere with the signal? Or perhaps accidentally crash into one with your own? I'm think rocket fired nets, but attaining the height and the accuracy might be hard, especially as they get smaller and perhaps swarm-bot-esque. I probably think about this stuff a little too much . . . But yeah, your faith in guns, is in my opinion, a little misplaced. Trebuchets are were its at.
L.A. January 16, 2013 at 03:05 PM
Oh my Gosh!!!!!...... With these people's mentality that thinks a gun under their beds will protect them 24/7 and all the mentally unstable people having access to them, this Country is getting into the 3rd World as fast as I though, well at least the 3rd World Countries's bad people does not go to schools and cowardly kills 20 babies. I thisnk its time to leave.
L.A. January 16, 2013 at 03:06 PM
I agree with you on your 2nd paragraph. I would became the Old Texas.
L.A. January 16, 2013 at 03:06 PM
I meant IT would became...
Steven DeVaux January 16, 2013 at 04:00 PM
Infrared will blind and kill a drone. Cook it's circuts from the inside out. I'm surprised they haven't lost any yet.
Steven DeVaux January 16, 2013 at 04:02 PM
L.A., Sure they do. Look at Uganda, Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali, Sudan to name but a few.
L.A. January 16, 2013 at 06:19 PM
I'm talking about 3rd World Countries, not lawless tribes.
Bobby Caselnova January 16, 2013 at 06:45 PM
They sell guns where guns are popular and more commonplace, but they hold of in areas like CT where they aren't. I see no reason to protest at all. Either way, I don't really care for walmart, I like buying my guns at small, local businesses. Walmart isn't a source of any of the so called "assault weapons" that are in CT, it's the small shops. Everyone knows about the shop that sold Mrs. Lanza her guns, and they apparently had some shady stuff going on well before that. Why isn't anybody protesting them? Why protest walmart, who hasn't sold a gun in CT in years? Is there any data saying most of the guns used in crimes come from walmart? I'm pretty sure most of the legal guns, no matter where they come from, aren't used irresponsibly. And I say most because there's always exceptions. I sold probably 200 AR-15's to all different people in my life, so I'm glad nobody got the bright idea to come protest me. For that I thank whoever is leading these protests. The ones I sold were used responsibly at ranges, for hunting, and kept for defense. I'd be willing to bet walmart's guns have a similar story.
Bobby Caselnova January 16, 2013 at 06:50 PM
LA, what makes the countries Steve listed "lawless tribes" and not "third world countries"? I'm pretty sure those are 3rd world countries. I never knew there was a fine line between third world country and lawless tribes. Perhaps you're a racist and that's coming out now as you talk about poor countries where the people are a different color. If they were white, they'd be a "third world country", but if they're another color, they'd be a "lawless tribe", right? Your argument is invalid until you lose your prejudice.
Bobby Caselnova January 16, 2013 at 06:52 PM
Have a good time wherever you end up. We'll be waiting in the USA with our rights when you get sick of it.
Steven DeVaux January 16, 2013 at 07:00 PM
Me too. They are represented at the United Nations as full and participating members funded partially by the United States of America. They have more status than the Palestinians. They are recognized countries in the world diplomatic theater.
Steven DeVaux January 16, 2013 at 07:05 PM
What exactly was done to prevent another Oklahoma City bombing? The bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995, killed 168 people, including 19 children, and injured more than 650. 19 kids. 1 less than Newtown yet you didn't hear what's going on today. 168 people - not 26 or 27. 650 more people injured. How is it possible, that this gigantic national tragedy was committed without the use of a single gun?
L.A. January 16, 2013 at 08:36 PM
Hi Bobby...meaning of TRIBE: any aggregate of people united by ties of descent from a common ancestor, community of customs and traditions, adherence to the same leaders." Did you see any description about color?? Steve is the one that mention only African countries for considered 3rd World. Give guns to everybody, that will solve the problem....so we can be a lawless tribe tooo!!!
Steven DeVaux January 16, 2013 at 08:48 PM
More? Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kurdistan, Burma....
Bobby Caselnova January 17, 2013 at 07:22 PM
If you think that guns make us a lawless tribe there's something seriously wrong with your thinking. I'll bet you say this because your only experience with guns comes from watching violent movies and hearing about violent acts in the media. I've met thousands of gun owners, most of them in CT, and I can tell you first hand that they are good people. They respect the law and would never hurt anybody unless they had to in order to protect themselves or those around them. Guns are everywhere in CT; whether you know it or not, you're constantly around guns when you're outside of your house. Licensed carriers of firearms have most likely held the door for you in public countless times while you had no idea they had a gun. You have no idea who the gun owners are in your community, so you have no business calling them lawless or stereotyping them at all. Also, if more guns don't make us safe, why do the police and our whole government have so many of them? Why don't they lead by example and destroy their own guns? If they did, I'd be a lot more willing to follow their example to "make us safer". It won't happen, because they know that bad people will ALWAYS have guns no matter what laws are put in place, so the only way to effectively counter that is to have good people armed and ready to stop the bad people.
Bobby Caselnova January 17, 2013 at 07:24 PM
Well said, Steve.


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