Code of Conduct and Proposal for Public Witness



The 10 points of the Responsible Firearms Retailer Partnership are:

  1. Videotaping the Point of Sale for All Firearms Transactions.  Participating retailers will videotape the point-of-sale of all firearms transactions and maintain videos for 6 months to deter illegal purchases and monitor employees.
  2. Computerized Crime Gun Trace Log and Alert System.  Mayors Against Illegal Guns will develop a computerized system that participating retailers will implement over time to log crime gun traces relating to the retailer.  Once the program is in place, if a customer who has a prior trace at that retailer attempts to purchase a firearm, the sale will be electronically flagged.  The retailer would have discretion to proceed with the sale or stop the sale.
  3. Purchaser Declaration. For sales flagged by the trace alert system, participating retailers will ask purchasers to fill out a declaration indicating that they meet the legal requirement to purchase the firearm.
  4. Deterring Fake IDs. Participating retailers will only accept valid federal- or state-issued picture IDs as primary identification.  Retailers will utilize additional ID checking mechanisms.
  5. Consistent Visible Signage.  Participating retailers will post signage created by the Responsible Firearms Retailer Partnership to alert customers of their legal responsibilities at the point-of-sale.
  6. Employee Background Checks.  Participating retailers will conduct criminal background checks for all employees selling or handling firearms.
  7. Employee Responsibility Training.  Participating retailers will participate in an employee responsibility training program focused on deterring illegal purchasers.  The Responsible Firearms Retailer Partnership will create an online training system based on Wal-Mart’s training program.
  8. Inventory Checking.  Participating retailers will conduct daily and quarterly audits.  Guidelines will be based on Wal-Mart’s existing audit procedures.
  9. No Sales Without Background Check Results.  Participating retailers would prohibit sales based on “default proceeds,” which are permitted by law when background check has not returned a result within 3 days.
  10. Securing Firearms.  Participating retailers will maintain firearms kept in customer accessible areas in locked cases or locked racks.

Participating retailers will phase in the provisions of

Responsible Firearms Retailer Partnership over time.


Heeding God’s Call:  Proposal for Public Witness

The Epidemic:  It’s a surprise to no one that our country suffers from an epidemic of gun violence.  More Americans die from gun violence annually in each of several large American cities than in any other entire developed country.  Contrary to the impression of many, gun violence besets all portions of the country, large cities, small towns and rural areas.  In fact, studies show per capita rates of gun violence in urban and rural areas to be nearly identical.

Cities and towns of any size across the country are negatively impacted by gun violence, fueled by gun trafficking and the straw purchasing that makes it possible.

Handguns reach streets and neighborhoods through a highly developed illegal trade – gun trafficking.  These are the guns used to threaten, wound, maim and kill.  The linchpins of gun trafficking are criminal entrepreneurs, traffickers, the straw buyers who stand in for them to make their bulk purchases and gun dealers who look the other way and enjoy the profits from volume sales.  Many such rogue gun dealers are located in markets throughout the country.

For many reasons, it is likely to be difficult to gain enactment of meaningful legislative barriers to the illegal gun trade by a number of state legislatures for several years.  Yet there is action citizens can take that may go far to disrupting the illegal gun business.

Background to Action:The retailer who sells the most guns nationally, Wal-Mart, recently signed a Partnership Agreement with the coalition of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, intended to make straw purchasing far less likely.  The coalition includes mayors from across the country.

The Partnership Agreement is a ten-point Code of Conduct that Wal-Mart has promised to follow for all gun sales.  Analysts believe it will go far toward severely diminishing the trafficking of guns from Wal-Mart stores.

If Wal-Mart can act as a good corporate citizen in the interest of preventing straw purchasing of guns and resulting gun violence, so can gun shops across the country.  Doing so would make a serious and permanent dent in the illegal gun business, making illegal guns far less available on streets and in neighborhoods, which would be likely to cut into the current carnage.

Public Witness:  We propose that local faith communities organize public demonstrations in front of certain gun stores with a record of selling many guns that have eventually been recovered from crimes and call for all gun shops to adopt a Code of Conduct identical to the Wal-Mart/Mayors Coalition Agreement.  Such an event has several attractive features, including:

~ It is radically different from the usual call for legislation, so is likely to gain substantial press coverage and appeal to many citizens who oppose activist government;

~ The ‘ask’ is not punitive to gun dealers and will be seen by press and public as reasonable.  The fact that Wal-Mart has already adopted a similar Code will also provide excellent justification.

~ The ‘ask’ can and should be taken back to local faith communities, for churches, youth groups and etc. to seek adoption by local gun shops.