3. Walmart and guns:

A recent editorial in The New York Times mentioned that the Stand Your Ground laws, which have been promoted by the National Rifle Association and other pro-gun-rights groups and have become controversial in the wake of the Florida shooting of Trayvon Martin, have been “fostered by the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, with heavyweight business supporters like Walmart, a major gun retailer.”

In recent years Walmart has softened a hard-right image resulting from its strong anti-union stance by becoming a leader in corporate environmental issues. Is the $400 billion retailer also a force behind the gun-rights movement and laws that have set off a new polarizing fight in the wake of the Florida shooting? Do its activities and lobbying extend beyond support for the American Legislative Exchange Council? Does it lobby and spend campaign contribution money on gun issues in Washington and in various state capitals? And how closely, if at all, does Walmart work with the NRA? After all, at least one of the NRA’s ongoing fights—preventing any limits on sales at private gun shows—must conflict with Walmart’s obvious interest in confining sales of anything to established retailers.

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Steven Brill , the author of Class Warfare: Inside the Fight To Fix America’s Schools, has written for magazines including New York, The New Yorker, Time, Harper's, and The New York Times Magazine. He founded and ran Court TV, The American Lawyer magazine, ten regional legal newspapers, and Brill's Content magazine. He also teaches journalism at Yale, where he founded the Yale Journalism Initiative.