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Assault on Assault-Style Weapons Gains Strength -- in the Marketplace

Assault weapons are being banned in the marketplace, not by politicians.

Increasing public opposition to the sale of assault-style weapons like the AR-15 to the general public is having a significant impact on major gun retailers, with many either flat-out stopping their sale or imposing stringent restrictions.

The latest indication of the power of the ongoing campaign against those weapons in the aftermath of the Parkland, FL school shooting came when Dick's Sporting Goods announced that it will actually destroy such weapons that it did not sell before imposing its ban following the school massacre.

Originally, the Pennsylvania-based retailer said it would ban the sale of assault-style rifles at its 35 Field & Stream stores, and would stop selling firearms and ammunition to anyone younger than 21. Since then, numerous companies have responded to the public’s growing demand for responsible gun control measures.

The New York Times reported that several retailers have joined Dick's in stopping the sale of firearms to those under 21, including Walmart, the nation’s largest gun seller; L.L. Bean; and Kroger, which said it would restrict gun sales at its Fred Meyer stores.

Going even further, Walmart said it will stop its online sale of toys hat look like assault-style rifles, and Kroger announced it would stop selling “assault-rifle themed periodicals.”

In addition, The Times reported, Citigroup said it would restrict the sale of firearms by its business partners, demanding guns not be sold to people younger than 21 or those who have not passed background checks. (The restrictions apply to clients who, among other things, raise capital via Citigroup or offer Citigroup-backed credit cards.)

Moreover, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Hertz and Avis announced they would end discount programs for the National Rifle Association's five million members. Delta and United also instructed the N.R.A. to remove their information from its website.

So while our representatives in Congress and the orange monarch in the White House refuse to ban the sale of AR-15 type weapons and impose other sensible restrictions, the court of public opinion is on its way to achieving that objective through the marketplace.

Republicans always say that they want to leave things up to the marketplace rather than imposing governmental restrictions, so they should be happy with the outcome in this case. But, probably not since so many of them are lapdogs for the N.R.A. and its financial largesse.

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