Walmart, Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms

Although I have been asked to comment on the issue of open carry in Walmart — see Time Magazine and NPR — I haven’t been asked to comment about Walmart’s decision to stop selling certain types of ammunition, which is the more consequential of Walmart’s recent actions given how much ammunition it sells annually.

A story I saw today in the New York Times got me to thinking about Walmart, alcohol, tobacco, and firearms, though.

As noted on my other (gun curious) blog, one of the experts quoted in this article is Dr. Michael Siegel of the Boston University School of Public Health. This is notable because in addition to firearms, Siegel also studies tobacco control and alcohol misuse.

Alcohol, tobacco, and firearms.

Walmart’s decision to stop selling .223 and 5.56 and “handgun” ammo, but not (to my knowledge) any tobacco products or alcohol, begs the question of the relative harm of these three commodities. Of course, relative risk of death is something I have addressed previously on this blog.

According to the NIH National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States. It is widely and easily available, including at Walmart.

The leading cause of preventable death? Tobacco, also widely and easily available, including at Walmart.

Not part of the ATF triad, but what about diet-related killers like heart disease and diabetes thanks to all the terrible foods that Walmart happily sells?

If Walmart was really so concerned about people’s health and well-being, it should set its sights on the things that are most likely to kill us before irrationally acting to “do something” just for the sake of doing something.

Source: Graphical Representation Blog (




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