Why Hasn't Wal-Mart Dropped ALEC, Too?
Your Take: Time for nation's largest retailer to end ties to group behind "Stand your ground" law.
Until a few weeks ago, many of us didn't know the name ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. But the Trayvon Martin tragedy and debate around Florida's "Stand your ground" law has uncovered the nationwide, systematic work by ALEC to advance cookie-cutter legislation that disproportionately hurts communities of color. ALEC, with the support of corporations like Wal-Mart, has promoted and advanced this agenda.
Hearing the outrage from consumers, many corporate giants like Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Kraft Foods have withdrawn their support from ALEC. This week ALEC responded to the public pressure by disbanding its Public Safety and Elections Task Force, which had been the target of much of the criticism. This isn't enough. Both ALEC and members like Wal-Mart need to do much more to distance themselves from these attacks on our communities.
Right now the country's largest retailer and employer, Wal-Mart, and the Walton family, which largely controls the company, remain supporters of ALEC. Looking a little closer, we can see why. Encouraging gun possession and sales is good business for Wal-Mart and for the six Walton family members who inherited the company. Wal-Mart is the nation's largest seller of guns and ammunition, and we know that gun violence has disproportionately affected communities of color.
Not only are Wal-Mart and the Walton Family Foundation members of ALEC, but the company also played an active role in helping advance the "Stand your ground" law. In 2005 Wal-Mart executive Janet Scott co-chaired ALEC's Criminal Justice Task Force (it later became the Public Safety and Elections Task Force in 2009) when the National Rifle Association successfully lobbied the task force to support the "Stand your ground" legislation.
According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, "justifiable homicides" have tripled since the passage of the law. FBI data shows similar increases in other states that have adopted the law.