Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest gun retailer, is awaiting a verdict Wednesday to see whether it can continue to sell modern sporting rifles if enough investors think it’s a business the company shouldn’t be in.
Arguing that Wal-Mart’s willingness to sell high-capacity magazine rifles contradicts its promise to uphold community and family values, Trinity Wall Street Church in New York won its case in November, when the district court ruled shareholders could propose and vote on a resolution that would force Wal-Mart’s board of directors to review its gun sales policy.
Gun rights activists argue that the district court’s decision allows the church, which owns 3,500 Wal-Mart shares, and other political activists to push gun control via corporate policies rather than struggle to pass such laws in the electoral arena.
“Implications of the decision are already being felt in a wide variety of areas, like shareholders who want companies to divest in Israel or shareholders who wanted, prior to a few days ago, to invest in Indiana,” said Michael Hammond, legislative counsel for Gun Owners of America. “It’s sort of an ongoing effort by people who have been unable to use the political process to achieve political ends and are now trying to destroy corporations in order to achieve those political ends.”