250K Join Gun Violence Survivors Demanding Walmart Stop Selling Assault Weapons

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 15, 2013

MEDIA ADVISORY FOR:
Tuesday, 15 January 2013

CONTACT:
Unbendable Media : 516-841-1105 : couragecampaign@unbendablemedia.com

Gun Violence Survivors Demand Walmart Honor 2004 Pledge and Stop Selling Assault Weapons and Munitions Nationwide

Nearly 250,000 Join Gun Violence Survivors Letter To Walmart, Demand Retailer Stop Selling Assault Weapons and Deadly Munitions

Concerned Citizens Join Corporate Watchdog At Protest Outside Newtown-Area Walmart on Tuesday Demanding An End to Assault Weapon Sales
**  http://action.sumofus.org/a/walmart-guns/?sub=pr **

NEWTOWN, CONNECTICUT - On Tuesday, January 15th, gun violence survivors will join dozens of Walmart customers to demand that Walmart, the nations largest gun retailer, honor a 2004 pledge and stop the sale of assault weapons and munitions in their stores nationwide.   Gun violence survivors, consumer watchdogs and concerned citizens will rally outside the Walmart in Danbury, Connecticut, just minutes from Newtown, to deliver a letter from survivors asking Walmart to honor its pledge. 

Nearly 250,000 concerned consumers have signed a petition in solidarity with gun violence survivors, demanding the company stop selling assault weapons and put people over profits.    Tuesday’s action at Newtown’s Walmart is organized by SumOfUs.org, a global corporate watchdog and joined by similar petitions on SignOn.org, Change.org, MomsRising and Courage Campaign.  The delivery will occur one month after the tragic shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School that claimed the lives of 26 people, including 20 children.

WHO:  Gun violence survivors, corporate watchdogs, consumer advocates and concerned citizens and parents join together to deliver a letter from survivors of gun violence urging Walmart to honor their 2004 pledge to stop selling assault weapons.  

Gun Violence Survivors Attending the Delivery and Available for Interviews:

Lori Haas - Lori's daughter Emily was shot and injured in the mass shooting at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007, in which 32 of her classmates and professors were murdered. The shooter had been adjudicated mentally ill and was prohibited from buying firearms. But his mental health records had not been submitted to the background check database, so he was able to pass a check and buy the murder weapons from a licensed gun dealer.

Pam Simon - Pam attended the January 8th Congress on Your Corner event as Rep. Giffords's Community Outreach Director.  Pam was shot in the chest and hand.  Pam recently retired, and prior to working as Rep. Giffords Community Outreach Coordinator, was a middle school teacher.

WHAT: Protesters will also deliver a petition from more than 250,000 Walmart customers and concerned citizens nationwide urging the retail giant to stop the sale of assault weapons and munitions.

WHERE: Walmart, 67 Newtown Road, Danbury, Connecticut.

WHEN:  11:00am EST.  Tuesday, 15 January 2013.

After the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting nearly one month ago, parents of victims and gun violence survivors joined together to urge Walmart, the nation’s largest gun retailer, to honor a 2004 pledge to stop selling assault weapons and munitions.  Below is the letter sent by survivors:

+++++++++++++

January 9, 2013
Michael Duke
Chief Executive Officer
Wal-Mart
702 SW 8th Street
Bentonville, AR 72716-8611
Dear Mr. Duke:
For families across Newtown, Conn., this past holiday season was not a time of joy and celebration but rather a period of profound grief and mourning. They spent their days burying loved ones and their nights wondering why. Children’s gifts remained unopened under the Christmas tree. The empty seat at the dinner table was a somber reminder that this nightmare was in fact reality.
While we cannot imagine the particular horror that the Newtown families have experienced, we are regrettably all too familiar with the painful impact that senseless shootings can have on everyday Americans. As survivors of gun violence and the families of its victims, we write to seek your help and urge you to act so that others do not have to suffer as we have.
For years, your company has reaped massive profits from the sale of military-style assault weapons, including the Bushmaster Patrolman’s Carbine M4A3 Rifle – a semiautomatic firearm similar to the gun used to murder 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Weapons like these are designed to kill large numbers of people as quickly as possible, and they are available for purchase in Wal-Mart retail locations across the country.
It is puzzling why a family-friendly store like Wal-Mart would sell such weapons just aisles away from the strollers and school supplies. But what is perhaps even more puzzling is why your company never fulfilled its promise to refrain from selling assault weapons. It was only eight years ago, after all, that Wal-Mart was hailed as a model of corporate responsibility for giving its assurances to U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Dianne Feinstein that the store would not carry these guns after the federal assault weapons ban expired.
Erik Winborn, Wal-Mart’s Vice President for National Government Relations at the time, said in the September 2004 announcement: “Wal-Mart only sells firearms and ammunition appropriate for sporting or hunting purposes, and that will continue to be our focus. We will not be carrying assault weapons.”
Yet any Wal-Mart shopper could easily tell by looking around the store that Mr. Winborn’s statement is simply not true. Assault weapons of all brands and models continue to adorn your shelves, from Sig Sauer M400s to Colt LE6920s.
We know the horrific capacity of these weapons to wreak havoc on our communities because we have witnessed it firsthand. They have no place in our streets and in our homes, and we strongly insist that you honor your 2004 pledge to ensure they have no place in your stores either. Doing so will help save countless lives and prevent other families from enduring the pain we carry with us every day.
Over the last several years, you shamefully decided that your company’s earnings were more important than keeping your word. Today, we appeal to you not as business leaders but as Americans. Wal-Mart should do the right thing and put families first, lest the next mass shooting is carried out with an assault weapon sold in your stores.

Sincerely,
Yvonne Alameddine, brother Ross murdered with a gun in Virginia Tech shooting
Sallie M. Badger and Col. (ret) Bill D. Badger, Tucson shooting survivors
Joyce Bishop, daughter and unborn child murdered with a gun
Michael & Jeri Bishop, son murdered with a gun in Virginia Tech shooting
Nancy Bowman, Tucson shooting survivor
Anita Busch, cousin Micayla was murdered with a gun in Aurora shooting
Jim Calhoun & Elaine Goss, son injured in Virginia Tech shooting
Alec Calhoun, injured in Virginia Tech shooting
Danny & Annie Carney, sister shot and injured in Virginia Tech shooting
Kenneth Dorushka, shot and injured in Tucson shooting
Jeanne Dube, son murdered with a gun in Virginia Tech shooting
Francine Dulon, mother murdered with a gun in Virginia Tech shooting
Andrew Goddard, son Colin shot and injured in Virginia Tech shooting
Roxanna Green, daughter Christina-Taylor murdered with a gun in Tucson shooting
John & Suzanne Grimes, son Kevin shot and injured in Virginia Tech shooting
Emily Haas, shot and injured in Virginia Tech shooting
Lori & Channing Haas, daughter shot and injured in Virginia Tech shooting
Jennifer Herbstritt, bother Jeremy murdered with a gun in Virginia Tech shooting
Joseph Herbstritt, brother Jeremy murdered with a gun in Virginia Tech shooting
Margaret Herbstritt, son Jeremy murdered with a gun in Virginia Tech shooting
Michael Herbstritt, son Jeremy murdered with a gun in Virginia Tech shooting
Stephanie Herbstritt, brother Jeremy murdered with a gun in Virginia Tech shooting
Christian Heyne, mother Jan murdered with a gun
Timothy Heyne, wife Jan murdered with a gun
Suzi Hileman, Tucson shooting survivor
Theresa Hoover, son A.J. was murdered with a gun in Aurora shooting
Jerri & David Jackson, son Matthew was murdered with a gun in Aurora shooting
Nardyne Jeffries, daughter Brishell was murdered with a gun
Jennifer Bishop Jenkins, sister Nancy and brother-in-law Richard were murdered with a gun
William B. Jenkins, son William was murdered with a gun
Amardeep Kaleka, father Satwant was murdered with a gun in Oak Creek shooting
Pardeep Kaleka, father Satwant was murdered with a gun in Oak Creek shooting
Alicia Lane, brother murdered with a gun in Virginia Tech shooting
Stephanie Loftin, brother murdered with a gun in Virginia Tech shooting
John R. & Patricia R. Maisch, Tucson shooting survivors
Melinda Moses, brother Stephen was murdered with a gun
Annette Nance-Holt, son Blair was murdered with a gun
Emily Nottingham, son Gabe murdered with a gun in Tucson shooting
Jerzy Nowak, wife murdered with a gun in Virginia Tech shooting
Sylvie Couture-Nowak, mother murdered with a gun in Virginia Tech shooting
William F. O'Neil, son murdered with a gun in Virginia Tech shooting
Mike & Teresa Pohle, son Michael was murdered with a gun in Virginia Tech shooting
Barbara La Porte, son murdered with a gun at Virginia Tech shooting
Priscilla La Porte, brother murdered with a gun in Virginia Tech shooting
Karen & Harry Pryde, daughter murdered with a gun in Virginia Tech shooting
Miya Rahamim, father Reuven was murdered with a gun in Accent Signage workplace shooting
Sami Rahamim, father Reuven was murdered with a gun in Accent Signage workplace shooting
Peter & Catherine Read, daughter Mary was murdered with a gun in Virginia Tech shooting
Greg & Rena Medek, daughter Micayla was murdered with a gun in Aurora shooting
Lonnie & Sandy Phillips, daughter Jessica was murdered with a gun in Aurora shooting
Roger & Faith Salzgeber, Tucson shooting survivors
Randa Samaha, sister Reema was murdered with a gun in Virginia Tech shooting
Omar Samaha, sister Reema was murdered with a gun in Virginia Tech shooting
Pam & Bruce Simon, Tucson shooting survivors
Jim & Doris Tucker, Tucson shooting survivors
Paul & Susan Turner, daughter murdered with a gun in Virginia Tech shooting
Brad Updegrove, brother-in-law murdered with a gun in Virginia Tech shooting
Jessica Watts, cousin Jonathan murdered with a gun in Aurora shooting

Cc:
Rob Walton, Director, Wal-Mart
Aida Alvarez, Director, Wal-Mart
James Breyer, Director, Wal-Mart
Michele Burns, Director, Wal-Mart
James Cash Jr., Director, Wal-Mart
Roger Corbett, Director, Wal-Mart
Douglas Daft, Director, Wal-Mart
Mike Duke, Director, Wal-Mart
Timothy Flynn, Director, Wal-Mart
Marissa Mayer, Director, Wal-Mart
Gregory Penner, Director, Wal-Mart
Steven Reinemund, Director, Wal-Mart
Lee Scott, Director, Wal-Mart
Arne Sorenson, Director, Wal-Mart
Jim Walton, Director, Wal-Mart
Christopher Williams, Director, Wal-Mart
Linda Wolf, Director, Wal-Mart
Alice Louise, Director, Walton Family Foundation

+++++++++++++

"Members of the SumOfUs.org community are demanding that the nation's largest gun retailer stop breaking its 2004 promise to end the sales of assault weapons,” said Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, executive director of SumOfus.org.  “If Walmart wants to call itself a family-friendly store, it needs to stop profiting off dangerous weapons designed to kill large numbers of people. Walmart has an opportunity to help put an end to these tragedies and we demand that it join us in saying enough.”

View SumOfUs’s petition here: http://action.sumofus.org/a/walmart-guns/?sub=pr

“In the past, Walmart has responsibly volunteered to stop selling assault weapons, but they haven't followed through on past promises,” said MomsRising Executive Director Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner. “We’re here to hold Walmart to its promise. Assault weapons have no place in our communities. We want Walmart to show they care about children and families by stopping sales of assault weapons to keep our communities safer.”

View MomsRising’s petition here: http://action.momsrising.org/sign/Walmart-Weapon/

"As an elementary school teacher, I am obligated to keep my students safe from harm. I want to see gun violence end, and a step in a positive direction would be for Walmart, the nation's largest gun retailer, to stop selling assault weapons completely," said 4th grade teacher Lauren Buglino, who launched her petition on Change.org.

View Lauren Buglino's petition via Change.org here: http://www.change.org/walmartguns

"Wal-Mart, as the largest gun dealer in the country, needs to decide if it wants to be part of the problem or part of the solution. It is far past time that Wal-Mart put the public's safety ahead of their bottom line and ban assault rifles like those used in the tragic shooting in Newtown," said Courage Campaign Chair and Founder Rick Jacobs. "Wal-Mart's slogan says 'live better', and I think we would all live better if Wal-Mart removed these deadly weapons from their shelves."

View Courage Campaign’s petition on SignOn.org here: www.signon.org/sign/tell-wal-mart-stop-selling


# # # # #

CourageCampaign.org is an online organizing network that empowers more than 750,000 grassroots and netroots activists to push for progressive change and full equality in California and across the country. As a leading multi-issue advocacy organization, Courage Campaign's work is supported by thousands of small donations from our diverse community.

SumOfUs.org is a global movement of consumers, investors, and workers all around the world, standing together to hold corporations accountable for their actions and forge a new, sustainable and just path for our global economy.

MomsRising.org is an online and on-the-ground grassroots organization of more than a million people who are working to achieve economic security for all families in the United States. MomsRising is working for paid family leave, flexible work options, affordable childcare, and for an end to the wage and hiring discrimination which penalizes so many others.  MomsRising also advocates for health care for all, toxic-free environments, and breastfeeding rights so that all children can have a healthy start. Established in 2006, MomsRising and its members are organizing and speaking out to improve public policy and to change the national dialogue on issues that are critically important to America’s families. In 2012, Forbes.com named MomsRising’s web site as one of the Top 100 Websites For Women for the third year in a row.

SignOn.org is the non-profit, online campaign platform from MoveOn.org that lets anyone start and run their own online campaigns.

Change.org is the world's largest petition platform, empowering people everywhere to create the change they want to see. There are more than 20 million users in 196 countries who use our tools to transform their communities – locally, nationally and globally.

We're fighting for a more progressive California.
Are you in?