As police investigate yet another school shooting, survivors of gun violence have announced that next Tuesday, January 15th, they'll deliver a letter and petition demanding that the nation's largest gun retailer, Walmart, honor a 2004 pledge and stop the sale of assault weapons in their stores.

The letter reads, in part:

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.

According to a press release, the gun violence survivors, organized by SumofUs.org and other consumer watchdogs, will rally outside the Walmart in Danbury, Connecticut—just minutes from Newtown—at 11:00 a.m. (EST) next Tuesday to deliver the letter and petition.

Once again, you can sign the petition over here, and you can read the full letter—and its heartbreaking list of signees—after the jump.

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