An assortment of handguns that were exchanged for gas cards sit on a table at a Gas for Guns event hosted by the Baton Rouge Police Department, East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office, East Baton Rouge District Attorney's Office and TRUCE at the Living Faith Christian Center, Saturday, December 1, 2018, in Baton Rouge, La.

In Louisiana, gun control is one of those issues, like abortion, on which the majority pretty much agrees regardless of party.

All three major candidates in the Oct. 12 election for governor are sportsmen who are familiar with guns and are supportive of gun rights. Even in the wake of mass shootings nationally, the lack of distinctions between the candidates have limited debate about gun policy on the campaign trail in Louisiana.

The best the Republican opponents usually do is trumpet their membership in the NRA and remind voters that nationally, at least, Democrats want to place limits on who can purchase weapons.

Incumbent Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards rarely, if ever, mentions the Second Amendment. But he also felled an elk with a long-distance shot over a mountain ravine during the 2016 hunting trip that was his first vacation as governor. Rather than hitting the beach, Edwards went hunting with pals after going from crisis to crisis during his first eight months in office. He dealt with a billion-dollar deficit, handled the Alton Sterling police shooting, oversaw reaction to the murders of law enforcement officers, and led Louisiana through a flood that damaged 80,000 homes and buildings.

But Edwards also unsuccessfully tried to block conservative Republicans on the State Bond Commission in 2018 from banning the bids of two banks competing to handle financing of state projects because of gun control policies.

The two banks — Citigroup and Bank of America — had adopted credit card and loan policies that gun retailers and manufacturers claim would limit their ability to do business.

The banks and several other corporations changed their gun policies soon after 17 people were killed and 17 injured in February 2018 by a shooter walking the halls of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in suburban Miami.

The Parkland, Florida shootings came four months after a gunman in Las Vegas killed 58 and wounded 422 shooting into a concert crowd from a window in the Mandalay Bay Hotel. And three months after 26 people were killed and 20 injured while worshiping at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, a suburb of San Antonio.

Dick’s Sporting Goods, one of the nation’s largest suppliers of hunting goods, pulled assault rifles and bump stocks out of its stores — at a cost of $150 million in lost sales last year.

Hertz, Enterprise and Avis rental car agencies stopped giving discounts to National Rifle Association members, as did Delta Airlines.

Many of the corporations were excoriated by the NRA and its supporters. Though some Louisiana officials joined the chorus of criticism against the corporations, the State Bond Commission’s move was the most tangible response.

Angered by the gun control stances that he called “fascism at its best,” Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry rallied conservatives on the Bond Commission in 2018 to forbid Citigroup and Bank of America from participating in a $600 million bond sale to fund roads projects, including the widening of Interstate 10 in Baton Rouge and a new exit that directly links the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport with I-10.

Not diminishing the impact of high-level financing for highway projects, but far more Louisiana residents will bump directly up against Walmart’s decision last week to stop selling handgun ammunition and “short barrel rifle ammunition.”

Doug McMillon, the CEO of the nation’s largest retailer that controls 20% of the ammunition market, reacted on Tuesday to 24 people being killed at Walmart stores in El Paso, Texas and Southaven, Mississippi during the past five weeks. "It's clear to us that the status quo is unacceptable," McMillon wrote employees in a memo.

Where regular Louisiana citizens might have trouble following complex financial arrangements of the Bond Commission, being unable to buy ammunition at Walmart likely will generate more conversation.

Gubernatorial candidate Ralph Abraham said he was “disappointed” in Walmart. “It’s not the law-abiding citizens we have to worry about.”

Landry blamed “extreme, liberal special interests” for forcing Walmart’s decision. “We can all agree the crisis we face is one of mental health and not law-abiding gun owners and sportsmen.”

“It is offensive to gun owners,” state Rep. Blake Miguez said of the new Walmart policy. The Erath Republican tried earlier this year to extend the ban on financial institutions with gun policies to all state contracts. His House Bill 413 easily passed the Louisiana House on a 66-28 vote April 29 but was stopped in the Senate Revenue & Fiscal Affairs Committee.

“I’m sure some gun owners will consider not shopping at Walmart anymore. It’s definitely going to cross my mind,” Miguez said. “It’ll drive folks, like yourself, to the local stores.”

Reuters, however, reported that the day after Walmart’s decision the price of the retail giant’s stock rose.

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