An Open Letter to Walmart CEO Doug McMillon

Dear Doug:

While I, too, am shaken by the magnitude of the tragedies that have occurred at Walmart stores, I am dismayed at what seems to be your sometimes incongruous response.

Before I point out what I see as non sequiturs in your company’s decision to stop selling ammunition for handguns and certain rifles, let me state that on the night of June 30, 2015, an intruder with a long criminal record and a stolen handgun burst into our motel room in New Mexico and held my wife, Lynne Russell, and me at gunpoint. 

The resulting gunfight left me badly wounded, my wife covered in blood, and the intruder dead, due to several center-of-mass hits from my pistol. The ammunition, .380 caliber full metal jacket, was purchased at my local Walmart. 

Your Walmart ammo saved my life and that of my wife.

I had bought that ammunition on a pre-trip, last minute run, along with a pint of half-and-half, orange juice, spark plugs, celery, two cans of tire inflator, boot socks, and a 25-pound bag of Sam’s high protein dog food for my Weimaraner, Oliver. This is the same disjointed and wildly disparate shopping list well-known to millions of Walmart customers such as myself.

But jeez, Doug, it seems that incongruity must run within your sense of logic, because had your new dictum been in force in 2015, I would not have been a merely inconvenienced customer. I’d be a dead one. Very dead.

Let me invite your attention to some other problems within your recent ultimatum.

First, real “assault rifles” are select-fire (single, or fully automatic; some even have an intermediate three-round burst feature). These weapons have detachable magazines and shorter-than-rifle-length barrels and cartridges. Therefore, the weapons you referred to in your communique are not “assault rifles!” They were semi-automatic assault-rifle look-alikes

Further, you coined the term “assault rifle ammunition,” as specifically .223 caliber rounds (5.56mm). If you had checked, you would have seen that .223 can also be fired by bolt, lever, and pump action rifles, some of which can be bought or ordered from . . . Walmart. Would these now be characterized as assault weapons, simply because they fire the McMillon-defined “assault rifle ammunition”?

By the way, at last check, Walmart also sold 7.62 x 39mm ammunition, which is used in the most ubiquitous firearm in the world, the Kalashnikov AK-47, as well as its semi-automatic clones. 

C’mon, Doug! If Sam Walton knew that you now sold only Mikhail Kalashnikov’s Commie “assault rifle ammunition,” he’d come back to life and announce a “Walmart Rollback” on your salary. Waaaay back.

Again, at last check, Walmart also continues to sell .308 caliber ammo, the civilian variant of the 7.62 x 51mm NATO cartridge, which is far more powerful than your ill-defined “assault rifle ammunition.” 

This ammunition can be used in non-military hunting rifles, such as the Remington 7400 or 750 series semi-auto rifle, which can be bought in carbine length with an 18.5-inch barrel and a small detachable box magazine. This is also true for semi-auto rifles that shoot .30-06 (identical to .30-caliber military ammo). Note that these weapons have barrels only 2.5 inches longer, and smaller detachable magazines, but they are, in fact, as lethal or more lethal than the AR look-alikes. 

In addition, Mossberg 500-series 12-gauge pump shotguns, and 12-gauge .00 buckshot or sabot slugs, are readily purchased at Walmart, as are advanced ACOG-type sights.

As I say, all these firearms and ammunition types are at least as lethal as an AR and .223 ammo. So what is Walmart’s point?

If you really think that getting out of the guns and ammo business is the right thing to do, then have the guts to divest yourself completely.

Of course, on the other hand, if the “McMillon Doctrine” was carefully crafted by the weasels in marketing and legal, who have seen too many reruns of “Beau Geste” but don’t really want to piss off a large chunk of your clientele, you might find Walmart on the wrong end of a boycott and tanking sales.

And Doug, don’t worry about me. As you read this I’ll be in my local Walmart ammo department, buying up the last of your integrity.

Chuck de Caro

P.S. Bad guys have always wanted to do bad things like shoot people; empty gestures similar to yours never stopped them or even slowed them down.

For example, Bonnie and Clyde were killing their victims with stolen U.S. 1918 A1 Browning Automatic Rifles, stolen .30-caliber ammunition and stolen 20 round magazines, in the 1930s!

About Chuck de Caro

Chuck de Caro is a contributor to American Greatness. He was CNN's very first Special Assignments Correspondent. Educated at Marion Military Institute and the U.S. Air Force Academy, he later served with the 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne). He has taught information warfare (SOFTWAR) at the National Defense University and the National Intelligence University. He was an outside consultant for the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment for 25 years. A pilot since he was 17, he is currently working on a book about the World War I efforts of Fiorello La Guardia, Giulio Douhet, and Gianni Caproni, which led directly to today’s U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command.

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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