In the aftermath of the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, MSNBC Live host Stephanie Ruhle invited author Igor Volsky on her Monday show to advocate for gun control, condemn the National Rifle Association, and spread some fake news in the process.
During the segment, Volsky condemned the NRA for fearmongering, "They've spent their entire existence telling people that even the smallest piece of gun reform is going to lead to confiscation." Questioning their motives he declared that this was not because certain politicians keep talking about "buybacks," but because the NRA wants to enrich the gun industry and itself so it can buy Wayne LaPierre some "really expensive suits."
Ruhle was not convinced that the NRA should be a roadblock to gun control, "We know the government is powerful, but business is as well. Tom Brokaw said it earlier. Walmart is America" and argued that Walmart needs to do more. She then issued two false statements in two straight sentences, "Walmart is the largest employer in the United States. One of the largest sellers of assault-style weapons." The first falsehood is that the federal government is actually the largest employer in the country, Walmart is the second, but the second and more relevant falsehood is that Walmart is one of the largest gun sellers in the country.
This talking point has spread far in the media and left-wing corners of the internet since the Saturday, but it is still false. In 2018 Walmart raised the age to buy firearms and ammunition to 21, which Ruhle and Volsky acknowledged, but as part of that press release, Walmart reminded the public that:
In 2015, Walmart ended sales of modern sporting rifles, including the AR-15. We also do not sell handguns, except in Alaska where we feel we should continue to offer them to our customers. Additionally, we do not sell bump stocks, high-capacity magazines and similar accessories. We have a process to monitor our eCommerce marketplace and ensure our policies are applied."
Reuters even noted this on Monday, saying that Walmart “end[ed] assault rifle sales in 2015.”
In other words, Walmart stopped selling the weapons Ruhle is referring to four years ago. Walmart went even further to appease gun control advocates, "We are also removing items from our website resembling assault-style rifles, including nonlethal airsoft guns and toys."
Volsky finished off the segment by urging Walmart to stop donating to NRA-supported politicians and to buyback the weapons they no longer sell.
Here is a transcript for the August 5 show:
MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle
9:14 AM ET
IGOR VOLSKY: They've spent their entire existence telling people that even the smallest piece of gun reform is going to lead to confiscation. For two reasons. One, they want to keep the market open to help the gun industry sell more guns and, two, they want to increase their revenues and their dues and continue to buy Wayne LaPierre really expensive suits I guess. They're not concerned about keeping us safe. That much is clear.
STEPHANIE RUHLE: Wayne Lapierre and his suits don't matter to big business. We know the government is powerful, but business is as well. Tom Brokaw said it earlier. Walmart is America.
RUHLE: Walmart is the largest employer in the United States. One of the largest sellers of assault-style weapons. Could we see big business take action after the shooting in Parkland, we saw Dick’s Sporting Goods say, “we are not going to sell these type of weapons anymore.” We know it hurt their bottom line. But they stood by it.
VOLSKY: Listen, Walmart has such an important role to play here. And I think they can do three different things. One, I think they can announce we're going to stop selling guns until we raise the standard of gun ownership in America.
RUHLE: Well, they have raised the age.
VOLSKY: The age to 21. Two, they can say we're going to stop giving dollars to lawmakers who are backed by the NRA. That's going to be massive. And, three, we're going to start investing in the communities that we serve and we're going to start funding gun buybacks to get some of those guns off the street. Walmart is such a major player. They are so large that if they really decided to lean into this issue, we could see some real change. We should all call on Walmart to do that.
RUHLE: Lean into safety is what you're calling for.
VOLSKY: Lean into safety indeed.
RUHLLE: Igor, thank you so much for joining me and sharing your insights.