Judge Orders Walmart to Let Investors Vote on Gun Sales

The world’s largest retailer may have to allow its investors to vote on whether it will continue to sell certain firearms and firearm-related accessories, according to a federal judge’s order.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Leonard Stark in Wilmington, Delaware, ruled that Walmart wrongly dismissed a proposal from New York City’s Trinity Wall Street Church that would require the governance committee to review policies on the sale of certain firearms and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

Judge Stark said allowing shareholders to have a say in the matter would serve the public interest.

Meanwhile, representatives for the Wall Street Church were pleased with the ruling.

“We believe that on critical issues such as the sale of products that may threaten the safety or well-being of communities, corporate boards must exercise their oversight role to assure balance among customer, shareholder, and societal interests,” the Rev. Dr. James H. Cooper of Trinity Wall Street church said in an online statement Thursday.

“The decision to sell guns equipped with high capacity magazines seems inconsistent to Trinity (and we presume like-minded shareholders), given other merchandising decisions that Wal-Mart has made to protect its reputation and the public,” Cooper continued.

Gun-control advocacy groups also praised the ruling and the actions of the church to foist the proposal on Walmart.

“It’s wonderful to see Walmart’s shareholders taking an active role on this issue,” said Ladd Everitt from the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence in an email to GunsAmerica. “Walmart has a history of embracing corporate responsibility when it comes to marketing and selling firearms and the approval of this proposal would be a terrific next step down that path.”

Yet, a spokesman for Walmart told Reuters that the Arkansas-based company might appeal the judge’s ruling on the basis that the proposal is overly broad and would impact the way in which the retail giant does business.

“Trinity’s proposal would interfere with Walmart’s ordinary business operations by seeking to regulate Walmart’s daily decisions on the hundreds of thousands of products sold,” said Randy Hargrove, a Walmart spokesperson.

The National Rifle Association also took issue with the judge’s ruling.

“We strongly disagree with the judge’s ruling. This is a classic case of judicial activism,” said Catherine Mortensen, NRA spokesperson, in an email to GunsAmerica.

Walmart is believed to be the single biggest firearms retailer in the country. What decisions its shareholders make with respect to gun sales could certainly impact its bottom line.

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 16 comments… add one }
  • JHR January 20, 2017, 7:24 am

    If this church is so concerned about social responsibility from a company they invest in why are firearms their only myopic concern?
    What about alcoholic beverages, cigarets, surgar laden beverages, and chemically poisoned fat induced boxed prepared foods?
    I could go on but the point is that the above list kills more people in the US every year than firearms ever will. Type 2 diabetes is reaching epedic proportions from the poison that Walmart, and other food retailers, sell. While controllable the control is expensive and an ultimate death sentence from cardio vascular failure.
    I’m a conservative bible thumper but I do believe this church is infringing on the separation of church and state. If they are so uptight about social evils they need to go balls to the walls against all of them and not just cherry pick firearms. Then again that might hurt their bottom line.
    Stay healthy, count your carbs, read the ingredients on what you consume. If they looks like a toxic chemical experiment, it probably is.

  • DaveP326 October 3, 2016, 4:22 am

    This is ludicrous! Since when do the investors tell a company what they can and cannot sell? I don’t believe that a judge has the right or the power to order something as insane as this. Will he tell Smith & Wesson investors to vote on what kinds of guns S&W can sell??? This country needs to do a 180 really quickly…..

    • mtman2 December 4, 2017, 4:40 am

      Absolutely – a judge has no athority over private business not in a legal case where no law has been broken.
      Moreover judge do not issue “rullings” only a courts opinion= not a law.
      “Rulings” come down from kings In kingdoms- “WE the People” –
      aren’t peasants …………yet-!!!

  • Mike December 16, 2014, 7:13 pm

    Does Walmart have a sporting goods department? Aren’t firearms and fishing rods part of sporting? Aren’t fishing lures and ammunition sporting goods? Are abrogating dart boards and knives next? (I’m getting sick and tired of Democrats)

  • Russ December 9, 2014, 6:00 pm

    You just have to wonder what their agenda is when they make up such twisted reasons for chipping away at American rights.
    Are they just dumb?
    Or are they the enemy?
    I have a solution to all the ongoing legal bullshit.
    Put the NRA in charge of all things having to do with firearms in the United States.
    Nobody in the world knows more about their history, uses or safety issues.
    Period, done, end of debate.

  • Austin Fox December 9, 2014, 4:45 pm

    Here’s a thought. How about letting the market decide. You know; Free Enterprise. If the public doesn’t buy it, they won’t carry it. Simple. No courts. No new laws. Cheap and easy.

  • John Browning December 8, 2014, 4:04 pm

    It may be pertinent to note that the church is located on the island of Manhattan. Which has no Walmarts.

    Don’t the Wallys still own a controlling share of Wally world? Don’t they live in Arkansas? Aren’t they the greediest little parasites that ever lived? The church thinks they can dictate policy to someone who has more money than the rest of America, combined?

    Note: I don’t shop at Walmart. They are one of the most socially corrosive forces in history. They go from place to place creating poverty. And their song is really stupid.

  • Bob G. December 8, 2014, 12:21 pm

    When walmart comes to your city you can kiss the small businesses goodbye . They aren’t stupid enough to go along with special interest groups. Walmart is for making all the money and selling legal products is within the law. Special interest groups aren’t walmart customers or stockholders.

  • Mac December 8, 2014, 10:29 am

    Since when does any board or group of investors care about anything other than making more money?
    The good reverend says they must “exercise their oversight role to assure balance among customer, shareholder, and societal interests,” but that’s a pipe dream. Exercising their oversight role is to assure that profits increase, and that’s ALL they care about. I guess we can now look for special interest groups to protest at gun stores just like they protest at abortion clinics.

  • Allen_C December 8, 2014, 9:09 am

    I’m a guy, so I don’t think WalMart should waste space on clothes for women and girls. Come to think of it, they needn’t bother with kids’ clothes, either. They should only sell what I need them to sell. The store could be called WalMart for me, Me, ME! I vote for that. (sarcasm alert)

  • Dave Hicks December 8, 2014, 9:05 am

    Is this nation wide or just in certain states?

  • Rob December 8, 2014, 8:36 am

    I am opposed to GRANNY PANTIES. Can we hold a vote on getting rid of those too. OK any body else on board.

  • Keene December 8, 2014, 6:56 am

    If the federal system is capable of stomping on the fudiciary responsibilities of the leadership within a public owned corporation why would that ruling not carry over to the responsibilities of our federal government. That would be interesting and I assure you they can recite endless reasons to prevent that.

    • Jay December 8, 2014, 12:38 pm

      [quote]”…why would that ruling not carry over to the responsibilities of our federal government?”[end quote] That’s an easy one. The politicians write the rules for you and I and they exempt themselves from complying with or being bound by them.
      Whatcha gonna do? /:^(

    • Joe McHugh December 9, 2014, 6:47 pm

      Keene, What??? “If the federal system is capable of stomping on the fudiciary responsibilities of the leadership within a public owned corporation why would that ruling not carry over to the responsibilities of our federal government.”

      Well, here’s why. The fiduciary responsibility of the leadership within a public owned corporation is secondary to the wishes of the owners of that corporation. The owners, (stockholders), elect the board of directors to represent their determinations on how to run the corporation. Normally, the directors hold meetings to do just that. However, important decisions are sometimes left to the stockholders to decide in direct elections of particular corporate policies.

      In the Walmart case, the judge simply put the decision making about selling firearms in the hands of the stockholders. The stockholders can vote to continue or discontinue to market firearms in the Walmart stores. The stockholders normally vote according to profitability of the move, but not always. The stockholders may decide that marketing firearms is just too distasteful to continue.

      About your comparison to the responsibilities of the Federal Government, I fail to see any such comparison. One organization is a private, for profit enterprise and the other is responsible to enforce the laws of our society.

  • alex gregis December 8, 2014, 6:16 am

    well it looks like walmart is going to follow kmart down the toilet!!!

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