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Don Surber: The retailer’s approach to politics

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Perhaps other readers are amused by editorials in the New York Times and elsewhere that rail against the idea that corporations have First Amendment rights.

Last time I checked, the New York Times Co., a corporation, owned the New York Times.

For me, not thee.

Of course corporations do have rights to property, patents, trademarks and free speech, to name a few.

In recent days, two corporations -- both retailers -- have asserted their rights.

CVS Caremark Corp. decided to quit selling decongestants that contain pseudoephedrine at about 50 of its drug stores in and around West Virginia. Rite Aid and Walgreen did the same thing earlier.

Target Corp. is asking customers who open carry guns or who have concealed weapons permits not to bring their guns to its nearly 1,800 stores.

These corporate decisions should please conservatives. They are voluntary actions that eliminate the need for another round of laws and regulations.

The CVS decision is the latest private sector move to head off a local drive to require prescriptions for Sudafed D and other allergy relief pills that contain pseudoephedrine.

Pseudoephedrine is an ingredient in home-made meth, which as any fan of “Breaking Bad” knows is the scourge of humanity.

Well, it is a problem.

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who represents West Virginia, put the arm on company executives to drop the product.

They decided West Virginia is not worth the hassle.

CVS will continue to sell pseudoephedrine-based allergy relief at its 7,000 other stores -- and you can get tamper-resistant pills at the 50 West Virginia area stores.

Add to that the industry-run system that tracks pseudoephedrine purchases, and you really don’t need another law.

To be sure, there are holes in this system, but laws get ignored as well. We are still struggling to get 100 percent compliance with the ban on murder that dates back to Cain and Abel.

The Target decision is national and more interesting.

Target is not banning guns, which is its right as a property owner. Instead, Target managers are requesting people with gun permits to not bring their weapons with them.

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America -- a group funded by billionaire Mike Bloomberg -- lobbied Target management to ban guns.

Instead, the company only requested you leave the guns home. The same is true of Wendy’s, Applebee’s, Jack in the Box, Starbucks and Chipotle, the Washington Post reported.

Despite getting a request instead of a ban, Shannon Watts, head of the anti-gun group, claimed victory.

“Like Chipotle, Starbucks, Facebook, Jack in the Box, Sonic, and Chili’s, Target recognized that moms are a powerful customer base and political force — and you can respect the Second Amendment and the safety of customers at the same time,” Watts told the Los Angeles Times.

Baloney. She wanted a ban.

The reason these retailers and restaurants will not ban guns is that they do not want to lose customers.

And the reason that customers bring their guns is that they do not feel safe.

To get a permit to carry a concealed weapon, people have to go through much more than they do to vote.

But they get the permits. And they vote.

These two moves reflect a different kind of voting.

In the pseudoephedrine case, CVS officials realized Manchin represents most of its customers in West Virginia.

If a customer has a problem with a product, then the store has a problem with the product.

This is why stores no longer display Playboys and the like.

In the gun ban case, companies realize that despite a well-funded protest, most customers have little or no problem with concealed guns, be they open carry or concealed.

These corporate decisions reflect the will of the people.

If only more government decisions did.


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