Some 120,000 people have signed on to a national campaign to get assault weapons off Wal-Mart's shelves on the heels of the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., that left 26 students and teachers dead.
The campaign was launched by consumer watchdog SumOfUs.org on its web site and by the progressive Courage Campaign on Signon.org. D.C.-based Baptist pastor Edwin Jones is also leading a coalition of community groups to pressure the multinational corporation.
According to Sum Of Us Executive Director Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, the campaign has received more interest than many others the watchdog has launched.
"You get inured to tragedies, but this one struck really close to home," she told Whispers. "The only reason to buy a semi-automatic assault weapon is to kill lots of people or cops. It has no place in our communities."
Wal-Mart, which the Washington Post reports is the largest dealer of guns and ammunition in the United States, has already removed the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle from its online store. But the weapon, which was used by Newtown shooter Adam Lanza, is still available in retail locations in some states across the country.
Consumers won't find the Bushmaster in Washington, however, a city that prohibits the possession of weapons with assault-rifle characteristics. (There are also currently no Wal-Marts in D.C., though six stores are scheduled to open in late 2013).
Wal-Mart did not respond to request for comment from Whispers about whether it had plans to stop carrying the rifle in other states.
But several calls to Wal-Mart stores in the D.C. suburbs revealed the Bushmaster was not in stock in either Maryland or Virginia. Maryland tightly regulates the sale of assault weapons. A clerk at one Wal-mart in Fairfax Virginia said the store opted out of the additional paperwork required to sell rifles equipped with 30-round magazines like the Bushmaster.