One month after the shooting in El Paso, Walmart announced their decision to reduce its gun and ammunition sales. While this may seem like a loss in the fight to preserve the 2nd amendment, the decision may be a blessing in disguise.
Have you ever heard the saying, “Don’t buy your ammo at the same place you buy your eggs?” Me neither, but it sounds legit. When I buy ammo, I want to know I’m getting quality products as well as being helped by a knowledgeable, and friendly staff. Definitely, not what comes to mind when I think of any of my visits to the mega discount retailer. Truth be told, I try to stay away from Walmart altogether and so should you. With all the talk of red flag laws, shopping at Walmart can pose serious risks to gun owners. Here’s why:
Walmart, as well as other larger retailers are using facial recognition software to get more and more information about their customers. Through the use of highly sensitive cameras, users of this software have the ability to pull up personal data about you, such as your name, address, credit card info, shopping habits and even social media accounts. The worst part is, employees receive this information to their phones through an app. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want any Walmart employees having this much information about me. Not to mention, this is all being done without your consent.
After further review, I learned that Walmart is using facial recognition software to blacklist shoppers who may be suspected of shoplifting. I was disturbed to find multiple cases of mistaken identity in which a person was misidentified through the software, only to be arrested later in their homes and sent to jail!
The way I see it—Walmart is allowing their employees access to your personal information, giving them the power to bring criminal and civil action against you without due process.
The New York Times reports, Yatarra McQueen got ensnared in the system after she exchanged an inflatable mattress for a grill at a Walmart in Montgomery, Alabama. Store employees suspected that she had stolen the mattress. But they let her make the exchange and leave the store. A few days later, Ms. McQueen found an arrest warrant in her mailbox. She drove to a detention center, where she was searched and made to wear a blue jump suit.
And Walmart’s response:
“While there are multiple steps that our associates follow before initiating a civil claim against a customer, people can make mistakes,” the company said in a statement. “We are deeply sorry when that happens. We continually evaluate the effectiveness and benefit of our programs.”
Now let’s put red flag laws into play. Picture this:
You are on your way to a two-day hunt in West Texas when you realize you forgot the ammo. The only store within miles is a Walmart, so you run in dressed in full camo. You’re short with the cashier because you’re in a hurry to get back on the road. If you don’t get to camp by 4 p.m. you will miss your evening hunt. You get several boxes of ammo; 12-gauge shells for the ducks, .223 and 5.56 for hunting predators after dark, and a few boxes of 9mm so you can hit some steel in between hunts tomorrow afternoon.
As you run out of the store, the employee-of-the-month catches a glimpse of your red MAGA hat. She despises Donald Trump and is suspicious of anyone who supports him. She reports your “suspicious” behavior to the manager, who runs your face through the facial recognition software. They get a hit. Apparently, your doppelganger, 1000 miles away has been shoplifting bras for the hell of it. Somehow your profile got mixed up with his, and now you just violated a no-trespass warrant that was issued to him a year ago.
The police are called, and an investigation is immediately launched. Since you just purchased a large amount of ammo, you are considered high risk. The police find your social media accounts and see where you posted a recent photo of your latest AR build on Instagram. They also find your twitter account, where the last thing you posted today were the words “shoot em’ in the face”, a phrase you and your buddies commonly use to describe duck hunting.
A warrant is issued for your immediate arrest and an APB is put out for your truck. On your way to the ranch, you look back and see red and blue lights flashing in your rear-view mirror. You pull over and notice there are several cop cars surrounding your vehicle. An officer approaches you with his gun drawn, yelling at you to put your hands on the dash. (Just imagine how this could go terribly wrong).
You step outside of your truck, terrified, as the cops point their guns at you. On command, you kneel down on the asphalt with your hands behind your head. They slap handcuffs on you, tell you that you’re under arrest and put you in the back of the squad car. You’ve missed your hunt, you need to make bail, hire an attorney, and you’ve lost your guns until the government decides you’re not a threat. All of this because you stopped at Walmart.
While this may be an extreme scenario, it’s not too far from reality. Red flag law arrests like these are occurring more and more frequently. When the 2nd amendment is under attack, responsible gun owners need to be aware when their rights are unknowingly being compromised.
Alas, Walmart is not on your side but think of it this way, anti-gun activists have given up the opportunity to keep an extra set of eyes on you. By banning you from buying guns and ammo from Walmart they can no longer record your image without your permission and scrutinize it at their discretion.
According to the ACLU, below is a list of retailers that could be using facial recognition:
Wal-Mart Stores - Refused to answer
The Kroger Co. - Refused to answer
Costco - Refused to answer
The Home Depot - Refused to answer
CVS Caremark - Refused to answer
Walgreens Boots Alliance - Refused to answer
Lowe's Companies - YES
Albertsons Companies - Refused to answer
Royal Ahold Delhaize USA - NO
McDonald's - Refused to answer
Best Buy - Refused to answer
Publix Super Markets - Refused to answer
Rite Aid - Refused to answer
Macy's - Refused to answer
TJX Companies - Refused to answer
Aldi - Refused to answer
Disney - Refused to answer
Dollar General - Refused to answer
Lone Star Gun Rights is dedicated to the restoration of our natural right to bear arms. They are unafraid to take on any politician who is an enemy to this cause, regardless of political party. Join LSGR today and sign their petition against gun control.