March 22, 2018
by Elliot Fineman
CEO – Founder
National Gun Victims Action Council
Imagine life without magazine covers like “assault weapons– the most versatile firearms you can legally buy,” “buying and shooting combat-proven rifles with lethal firepower,” and “whispering death: suppressors for assault rifles.”
The same newsstands that ban porn magazines nevertheless stock such gun pornography–– magazines designed to glorify and incite the killing power of assault weapons replete with lurid color spreads and enhanced models.
Now Kroger, the largest supermarket chain in the U.S.—with 2,782 grocery stores, 2,268 pharmacies, 782 convenience stores and 1,489 supermarket fuel centers—has announced it will stop selling magazines about assault rifles in its stores. Not surprisingly, gun advocates vow to boycott Kroger but the company will no doubt not notice.
The announcement came weeks after Kroger announced it will no longer sell guns to customers under 21. Now, that’s corporate responsibility.
Assault weapons like the AR15, used in so many recent mass shootings, are a major profit center for gun makers, marketed as “modern sporting rifles.” Despite AR15 massacres, including Parkland, the NRA tweeted an AR15 photo with the slogan “I’ll control my own guns thank you,” on March 14, the day of the national student walkout.
The NRA claims, “sporting rifles” are no more dangerous than other weapons but trauma surgeons strongly disagree. “The tissue destruction is almost unimaginable,” says Dr. Jeremy Cannon who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and is a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force Reserve. “Bones are exploded, soft tissue is absolutely destroyed. The injuries to the chest or abdomen — it’s like a bomb went off.”
Fifty-seven magazines with assault weapons content will be removed from Kroger shelves including: Guns & Ammo, Guns Magazine, Firearm News, Military Surplus, Modern Firearms, On Target, Recoil, Rifle Shooter, S.W.A.T., Special Weapons, Tactical Firearms, Gun Buyer Annual, Gun Guide, Gun World and World of Firepower.
Guns & Ammo made headlines in 2013 when contributing editor Dick Metcalf––a 37-year gun journalist––said he had no problem with mandatory gun-owner training to get a license for concealed carry. Pro-gun advocates sent an avalanche of outraged emails to the magazine, web posts and threats to its advertisers and demanded that he be fired. Metcalf was fired in three days and the magazine’s editor Jim Bequette forced to resign shortly thereafter.
Kroger’s decision is a tremendous step that will serve to dial back the glorification of the killing power of assault weapons.
It is time to ask why any stores sell gun pornography magazines that breathlessly hawk “lethal firepower” and “whispering death.” This is something the student movement could focus on and call attention to as part of its March for Our Lives efforts for school safety.