Anti-Gun Groups Turn Up Pressure on the Private Sector

Monday, 17 Mar 2014 07:34 PM

By Jason Devaney

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Gun control has moved from the U.S. Capitol to board rooms and coffee shops across America.

The Hill reports that anti-gun groups have been putting increased pressure on private businesses to ban firearms in their stores, offices and on their websites.

Moms Demand Action has stayed busy by staging campaigns to ban firearms and to change the gun laws in the U.S. The group has found some success.

Starbucks has asked private citizens not to bring firearms into its stores, even if the person has the legal right to do so. And Facebook has begun to crack down on buying and selling firearms on social media.

Moms Demand Action will keep up the fight by continuing to target the private sector.

"Congress locked the door, so moms are going through the window," Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts said in The Hill story.

Watts formed the group after the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Last December, it joined forces with former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun organization, Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

"Gun violence is, unfortunately, an issue that affects every community, and coming together with Moms Demand Action, today will strengthen our efforts to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individual and save lives," Bloomberg said at the time.

Gun Owners of America spokesman Erich Pratt said groups like Moms Demand Action often turn to alternative ways to spread their message if Congress doesn’t listen.

"This is not the first time we’ve seen this kind of thing," he told The Hill. "Whenever the anti-gun groups get stymied in Congress they resort to boycotts and other private measures."

Starbucks has not banned firearms outright from its stores, but CEO Howard Schultz said the company is taking steps at the corporate level by discouraging customers not to be armed.

"The presence of a weapon in our stores is unsettling and upsetting for many of our customers," Schultz said.

In another move, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence has asked Visa to cut ties with the National Rifle Association. The credit card giant offers two NRA-branded credit cards.

Still, the actions by groups such as Moms Demand Action have reportedly led to record gun sales. With Americans nervous about their Second Amendment rights, 2013 was a big year for the industry.

More than 21 million background checks for gun sales were performed last year, an increase of nearly two million from 2012.

"2013 was the best year for [commercial domestic] firearm sales in history — period! That's true for NH to Hawaii," said Richard Feldman, president of the Independent Firearm Owners Association.

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