Walmart and Kroger Ask Shoppers to Stop Openly Carrying Guns in Stores
- Walmart and Kroger have asked their customers to not open-carry firearms while shopping in their stores.
- Walmart also released a memo announcing the company’s plans to stop selling certain ammunition and called on Congress to take legislative action when it comes to gun control measures like background checks.
- Many supported Walmart and Kroger for taking a stand after two tragic shootings took place in its stores last month.
- Others, however, criticized the companies for getting involved in gun control.
Walmart Changes Policies in Light of Shootings
Both Walmart and Kroger are asking customers to not open-carry guns in their stores.
On Tuesday, Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon published a memo written to the company’s associates. The letter addressed the mass shootings that have happened around the country and in its stores in recent weeks.
“A month ago, in El Paso, Texas, a gunman with an assault-style rifle launched a hate-filled attack in our store, shooting 48 people resulting in the loss of 22 innocent lives,” he said. “Just a few days prior, two of our associates were killed by another associate in our store in Southaven, Mississippi. And hours after the shooting in El Paso, our country experienced another mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio. This weekend brought tragedy to Midland and Odessa, Texas.”
“It’s clear to us that the status quo is unacceptable,” McMillon added.
He then announced new changes to the store’s policy on selling guns and ammunition. He said that sales of short-barrel rifle ammunition like .223 caliber and 5.56 caliber that be used in large capacity clips on military-style weapons will be discontinued, as well as sales of handgun ammunition. Handgun sales in Alaska will also be discontinued, which marks the company’s full exit from handguns.
“We know these decisions will inconvenience some of our customers, and we hope they will understand,” McMillon stated. “As a company, we experienced two horrific events in one week, and we will never be the same.”
McMillon also outlined incidents following the shooting in El Paso where shoppers walked into Walmart stores openly carrying a weapon, sometimes with an intent to cause fear, and other times causing fear unintentionally.
“These incidents are concerning and we would like to avoid them,” he said. “So we are respectfully requesting that customers no longer openly carry firearms into our stores or Sam’s Clubs in states where ‘open carry’ is permitted – unless they are authorized law enforcement officers.”
Towards the end of the memo, McMillon, who said he himself is a gun owner, called upon Congress to take legislative action.
“Move forward and strengthen background checks and to remove weapons from those who have been determined to pose an imminent danger,” he wrote. “We do not sell military-style rifles, and we believe the reauthorization of the Assault Weapons ban should be debated to determine its effectiveness. We must also do more, as a country, to understand the root causes that lead to this type of violent behavior.”
Kroger Follows Suit
Later on Tuesday, Kroger followed Walmart’s lead and released a statement to CNBC asking that customers no longer openly carry firearms in their stores.
“We are also joining those encouraging our elected leaders to pass laws that will strengthen background checks and remove weapons from those who have been found to pose a risk for violence,” their statement added.
Support for Walmart
Several politicians spoke out in support of the two companies. Former Ohio Governor John Kasich commended them, as well as Dick’s Sporting Goods, who has previously tightened gun measures, for “taking a leadership role on this critical issue.”
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) also said decisions like this “can have an enormous impact on public safety.”
Former Texas Rep. and presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke called it a “step in the right direction,” before adding legislative measures he believes should follow.
Commentator Piers Morgan also congratulated Walmart for their decision.
Walmart Faces Criticism
However, Walmart’s choice did face criticism from others. The National Rifle Association released a statement calling the move “shameful” and said the company succumbed “to the pressure of the anti-gun elites.”
Dana Loesch, a former spokeswoman for the NRA and current radio host, condemned the certain kinds of ammunition Walmart chose to discontinue.
Fox News personality Tomi Lahren said this choice would cost the retailer customers and added that the company had “just shot itself in the foot.”
See what others are saying: (CNBC) (NPR) (Wall Street Journal)
White Supremacist Propaganda Reached Record High in 2022, ADL Finds
“We cannot sit idly by as these extremists pollute our communities with their hateful trash,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said.
White supremacist propaganda in the U.S. reached record levels in 2022, according to a report published Wednesday by the Anti-Defamation League’s Center of Extremism.
The ADL found over 6,700 cases of white supremacist propaganda in 2022, which marks a 38% jump from the nearly 4,900 cases the group found in 2021. It also represents the highest number of incidents ever recorded by the ADL.
The propaganda tallied by the anti-hate organization includes the distribution of racist, antisemitic, and homophobic flyers, banners, graffiti, and more. This propaganda has spread substantially since 2018, when the ADL found just over 1,200 incidents.
“There’s no question that white supremacists and antisemites are trying to terrorize and harass Americans with their propaganda,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement. “We cannot sit idly by as these extremists pollute our communities with their hateful trash.”
The report found that there were at least 50 white supremacist groups behind the spread of propaganda in 2022, but 93% of it came from just three groups. One of those groups was also responsible for 43% of the white supremacist events that took place last year.
White supremacist events saw a startling uptick of their own, with the ADL documenting at least 167, a 55% jump from 2021.
Propaganda was found in every U.S. state except for Hawaii, and events were documented in 33 states, most heavily in Massachusetts, California, Ohio, and Florida.
“The sheer volume of white supremacist propaganda distributions we are documenting around the country is alarming and dangerous,” Oren Segal, Vice President of the ADL’s Center on Extremism said in a statement. “Hardly a day goes by without communities being targeted by these coordinated, hateful actions, which are designed to sow anxiety and create fear.”
“We need a whole-of-society approach to combat this activity, including elected officials, community leaders, and people of good faith coming together and condemning this activity forcefully,” Segal continued.
See what others are saying: (Axios) (The Hill) (The New York Times)
Adidas Financial Woes Continue, Company on Track for First Annual Loss in Decades
Adidas has labeled 2023 a “transition year” for the company.
Adidas’ split with musician Kanye West has left the company with financial problems due to surplus Yeezy products, putting the sportswear giant in the position to potentially suffer its first annual loss in over 30 years.
Adidas dropped West last year after he made a series of antisemitic remarks on social media and other broadcasts. His Yeezy line was a staple for Adidas, and the surplus product is due, in part, to the brand’s own decision to continue production during the split.
According to CEO Bjorn Gulden, Adidas continued production of only the items already in the pipeline to prevent thousands of people from losing their jobs. However, that has led to the unfortunate overabundance of Yeezy sneakers and clothes.
On Wednesday, Gulden said that selling the shoes and donating the proceeds makes more sense than giving them away due to the Yeezy resale market — which has reportedly shot up 30% since October.
“If we sell it, I promise that the people who have been hurt by this will also get something good out of this,” Gulden said in a statement to the press.
However, Gulden also said that West is entitled to a portion of the proceeds of the sale of Yeezys per his royalty agreement.
Adidas announced in February that, following its divergence from West, it is facing potential sales losses totaling around $1.2 billion and profit losses of around $500 million.
If it decides to not sell any more Yeezy products, Adidas is facing a projected annual loss of over $700 million.
Outside of West, Adidas has taken several heavy profit blows recently. Its operating profit reportedly fell by 66% last year, a total of more than $700 million. It also pulled out of Russia after the country’s invasion of Ukraine last year, which cost Adidas nearly $60 million dollars. Additionally, China’s “Zero Covid” lockdowns last year caused in part a 36% drop in revenue for Adidas compared to years prior.
As a step towards a solution, Gulden announced that the company is slashing its dividends from 3.30 euros to 0.70 euro cents per share pending shareholder approval.
Adidas has labeled 2023 a “transition year” for the company.
“Adidas has all the ingredients to be successful. But we need to put our focus back on our core: product, consumers, retail partners, and athletes,” Gulden said. “I am convinced that over time we will make Adidas shine again. But we need some time.”
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Times) (CNN)
Immigration Could Be A Solution to Nursing Home Labor Shortages
98% of nursing homes in the United States are experiencing difficulty hiring staff.
The Labor Crisis
A recent National Bureau of Economic Research paper has offered up a solution to the nursing home labor shortage: immigration.
According to a 2022 American Health Care Association survey, six in ten nursing homes are limiting new patients due to staffing issues. The survey also says that 87% of nursing homes have staffing shortages and 98% are experiencing difficulty hiring.
The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) outlined in their paper that increased immigration could help solve the labor shortage in nursing homes. Immigrants make up 19% of nursing home workers.
With every 10% increase in female immigration, nursing assistant hours go up by 0.7% and registered nursing hours go up by 1.1% And with that same immigration increase, short-term hospitalizations of nursing home residents go down by 0.6%.
Additionally, the State Department issued 145% more EB-3 documents, which are employment-based visas, for healthcare workers in the 2022 fiscal year than in 2019, suggesting that more people are coming to the U.S. to work in health care.
However, according to Skilled Nursing News, in August of 2022, the approval process from beginning to end for an RN can take between seven to nine months.
Displeasure about immigration has exploded since Pres. Joe Biden took office in 2021. According to a Gallup study published in February, around 40% of American adults want to see immigration decrease. That is a steep jump from 19% in 2021, and it is the highest the figure has been since 2016.
However, more than half of Democrats still are satisfied with immigration and want to see it increased. But with a divided Congress, the likelihood of any substantial immigration change happening is pretty slim.