Wal-Mart to participate in Biden meeting to stop gun violence

Wal-Mart will send a representative to a meeting on gun violence hosted by Vice President Biden on Thursday.

Wal-Mart, the biggest seller of guns in the country, had previously said that it would not be able to send a representative, but on Wednesday the retailer reversed course and said a company representative would participate. 

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"Knowing our senior leaders could not be in Washington this week, we spoke in advance with the vice president’s office to share our perspective," Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar said in a statement. "We underestimated the expectation to attend the meeting on Thursday in person, so we are sending an appropriate representative to participate."

The meeting on Thursday is part of a series of discussions Biden is holding with gun-safety groups and gun ownership organizations. President Obama put Biden in charge of a gun violence task force after 27 people, including 20 six- and seven-year-olds, were killed in a mass shooting in December at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. 

Obama is expected to take the group's recommendations at the end of January and quickly begin pushing for federal action on gun violence reduction.

Wal-Mart stressed in the statement that it is "committed" to being involved in discussions on gun control.

"Over the years we have been very purposeful about striking the right balance between serving hunters and sportsmen and ensuring that we sell firearms responsibly," the statement also said. "In fact, we became a charter member of Mayor Bloomberg’s coalition against illegal guns and adopted the 10-point code established by the Responsible Firearms Retailer Partnership that goes beyond what the law requires.

"We take this issue very seriously and are committed staying engaged in this discussion as the Administration and Congress work toward a consensus on the right path forward."