Huge: Walmart, the Biggest Gun Seller in the U.S., Dumps ALEC Amid Anti-"Stand Your Ground" Law Activism
The grassroots effort to urge ALEC supporters to drop the right-wing front group just continues to grow. Today we learned that activists were even able to persuade Walmart, the largest retailer in the world, to cut ties with the group.
To refresh your memory, the anti-ALEC campaign (actually, complementary campaigns) got their start last fall, but they gained huge momentum earlier this year in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting. Groups including the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and ColorofChange.org have been working diligently to inform the public of ALEC's involvement with the proliferation of "stand your ground" laws, voter ID laws, and other dubious legislation, and use the public outcry to urge companies to sever ties with the group. Activists have also gone after ALEC-supporting Democrats. And they've had a number of successes so far: over half a million people have signed anti-ALEC petitions, 44 Democrats have vowed to end their support of ALEC, and now, with Walmart, 22 major corporations and organizations have dumped ALEC as well.
Several weeks ago I wrote, "Many ALEC Dems likely will not disavow ALEC, just as many corporations -- most notably Koch Industries and Walmart -- will never spurn the group that has done so much good for their bottom line." I'm very happy to say that I was wrong about that. Of all the wins for anti-ALEC activists, Walmart is the most significant, not only because it is so huge and represents so much money, but because of the company's involvement with stand your ground laws; Walmart, which is the nation's leading seller of guns, was co-chair of ALEC's Public Safety and Elections Task Force in 2005 when the NRA brought the idea for stand your ground laws to ALEC.
ColorofChange.org executive director Rashad Robinson noted the racial implications of Walmart's move. "Wal-Mart is both the country's largest retailer of firearms and the largest private employer of Black Americans," Robinson said in a statement today. "The tragedy of Trayvon Martin's death -- and the so-called ‘stand your ground’ law that helped his killer evade arrest for more than a month – is another example of how ALEC's agenda is dangerous for people of color. The NRA and ALEC exported Florida's ‘stand your ground’ law to more than 20 states across the country, jeopardizing the safety of Americans nationwide.”
Meanwhile, PCCC state organizing director James Ploeser had this to say: "The dominoes continue to fall. When even Walmart, the world's largest retailer and a notorious union-buster itself, decides to dump ALEC's voter-suppression, union-busting agenda, it's clear that public pressure is working."