Wal-Mart will meet with Holder, not Biden
January 10th, 2013
11:01 AM ET
10 years ago

Wal-Mart will meet with Holder, not Biden

Washington (CNN) – Wal-Mart's envoy to the White House's gun violence task force will meet with Attorney General Eric Holder, not the group's leader Vice President Joe Biden, an administration official said Thursday.

Wal-Mart is one of ten retailers meeting with Holder Thursday, the Justice Department said. Other stores expected to be represented at the 3:15 p.m. ET meeting include Dick's Sporting Goods and Bass Pro Shops.

Biden is scheduled to meet with gun owners and gun rights groups Thursday, including the National Rifle Association. Later in the day he'll sit down with representatives of the entertainment and video game industries.

The NRA is sending James J. Baker, the head of its federal relations office, to meet with the vice president and other administration officials who comprise the panel, which is charged with developing proposals to stem gun violence. Those measures will be presented the President Barack Obama upon the conclusion of the meetings.

Baker served as the NRA's chief lobbyist in the 1990s, when Biden was serving as a senator from Delaware.

After initially declining an invitation to attend at meeting with the gun panel, Wal-Mart announced Wednesday that it would participate in a meeting with the group, which was assembled after the deadly school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

Neither party has addressed why the retailer is now scheduled to meet with Holder as opposed to Biden, who has been at the center of the administration's evalutation process over guns.

The nation's largest retailer, whose representatives had spoken with the vice president's staff earlier this week on the issue, originally said that executives couldn't attend Biden's meeting Thursday because they were obligated to be at monthly sales meetings at its headquarters in Bentonville, Ark.

The decision was widely scrutinized, with many questioning how Wal-Mart could be a part of the discussion without listening to what other parties were saying at the White House.

In response to the criticism, Wal-Mart said it would attend.

"We underestimated the expectation to attend the meeting on Thursday in person, so we are sending an appropriate representative to participate," said Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar.

Tovar said that Wal-Mart has been "very purposeful" about striking the right balance between serving hunters and sportsman and ensuring that it sells firearms responsibly. He also said the retailer is committed to staying engaged in the discussion about the right path forward with lawmakers.

Wal-Mart sells guns in roughly 1,800 of its 4,000 stores, according to Tovar. It sells semiautomatic assault rifles, like the ones used in Sandy Hook, in about 1,200 stores across the country.

CNNMoney's Emily Jane Fox contributed to this report.

Filed under: Eric Holder • Gun rights • Joe Biden
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Squigman

    Wal-Mart, believes that they are above all laws. They've been given (by republicans), the opportunity to spit in the face of the American people, on a daily basis. The people that allow this to happen the most, are the people that visit Wal-Mart stores to shop for (what is commonly referred to as bargains), that has actually dispersed jobs to foreign sweat shops and created substandard living conditions here in the United states. But you've drank from the Kool-Aide tank for so long, there's no turning back. You've already been shot dead by the gun that didn't make any noise. You were bought cheap.

    January 10, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  2. Woman In California

    Wal-Mart sells guns in roughly 1,800 of its 4,000 stores, according to Tovar. It sells semiautomatic assault rifles

    If I could, I would boycott Wal-Mart but since I don't shop there anyway, this is yet another reason to keep me away. Let's hope the meeting is a productive one with a good outcome.

    January 10, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Why are we only meeting with special interests? What do law enforcement groups have to say? Why have the Christian Conservatives been so silent?

    January 10, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  4. The Real Tom Paine

    Hey, maybe money doesn't trump everything else. Hopefully Wal-Mart will realize their future does not lie in firearms.

    January 10, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  5. Sniffit

    Who cares? They'll do exactly what the NRA did when it met with Biden this week: summarily declare that they will not discuss any new or changd regulations, call that a "non-starter" and then leave, promptly spending millions on lobbying efforts to fight against any reasonable, responsible regulation whatsoever.

    They live in magical fantasy worlds of absolutes. They cannot be reasoned with and are never ever ever going to participate in a rational discussion. It is time to ignore them.

    January 10, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  6. Sniffit

    "Why are we only meeting with special interests? What do law enforcement groups have to say?"

    Don't be fooled by CNN and the MSM cherry-picking/focusing solely on the most controversial of lobbyists and special interest groups. They're meeting with law enforcement and others as well...but those groups aren't going to be saying what CNN and the Waltons and the Kochs and the birchers of the country want to hear, so they're not going to get much attention.

    January 10, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  7. Sniffit

    Excuse me...I misstated that...the NRA hasn't even met with Biden yet but is prefacing the meeting with a PR blitz in which they are stating those things, i.e., that they will not discuss new or changed regulations, that any such discussion is a non-starter, etc. They want to control and shut-down the conversation before it is even had.

    This isn't about gun rights. It's about gun sales. Period.

    January 10, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  8. Gurgyl

    These MEETINGS should be more TRANSPERENT and television broadcast to public not latent ones.

    January 10, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  9. GuestAgain

    This isnt about gun control or reduction in crime, it's about satisfying liberal hysteria. The democrats near absolute dismissal of reasonable solutions coupled with their unilateral insistance on gun bans is reminiscent of their fiscal shortcomings. If it looks like a duck...

    January 10, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |