Walmart and Dicks Sporting Goods have decided to stop selling guns to people under the age of 21 following the tragedy in Parkland, Florida where 17 students and faculty at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were killed by an armed gunman. These actions have not gone unnoticed—they have been met with controversy—but mostly, a whole lot of praise. We at the Spectator agree and wholeheartedly support their decisions to limit access to guns.
If it’s not going to happen legislatively right now, at least it’s happening somewhere.
Several corporations have also cut ties with the National Ri e Association (NRA). These are private corporations, and part of the criticism they have been faced with is that they are taking a political stance when they should not be. We’d like to think these decisions are morally motivated, and that Dick’s and Walmart are not using the recent tragedies to cater to grieving consumers.
Despite their motive, these new policies are momentous, especially considering the capitalistic society we live in. Changes this noteworthy, from companies who generate a lot of money from gun sales, may get the ball rolling for other corporations to follow suit.
Our society is constantly consuming, and if a change occurs in the way items (i.e. guns) are presented to us, it has the potential to a effect our culture in the long- run. Over time, people may question their opinions on finding it acceptable for 18-year-olds to have guns when they notice that most corporations do not sell them to people that young.
No, it won’t solve every problem. Yes, people can purchase guns elsewhere.
Mass shootings are often premeditated and carefully thought out, but there is still a slew of impulsive shootings that have the potential to be stopped, and many of these impulsive shootings are carried out by those under the age of 21. If corporations restrict their ability to get their hands on a gun in that moment, maybe they will reconsider their actions, and maybe a life will be saved.
There is no guarantee that Dicks and Walmart will change anything. It is an experiment, and we are glad that they are willing to lose some revenue in hopes of bringing about change. Nobody is happy about lives being lost. The NRA is not happy about lives being lost, either. Individuals, ideologies, corporations and politicians have different philosophies when it comes to ending these tragedies. Considering mass shootings are still fairly common, this experimental idea is worth a try.
-The Spectator Editorial Board