Corporations vs. Freedom

Corporations vs. Freedom

If there is one philosophical ideal running through my life it can be summed up in one word: Freedom (I suspect this may be the same for you).

I believe in freedom in all its different forms: personal freedom, financial freedom, and the freedom to make your own way in the world. The freedom to make mistakes and live with the consequences… I believe that goes for businesses too.

(This probably sounds like some sort of AmmoSquared confession at this point… but it isn’t…keep reading).

I believe individuals have a choice about when and where they spend their money. It is their right to make those decisions of their own free will. They can make bad decisions with their money if they choose too as well. (Shake Weight anyone?)

At the same time, I also believe that businesses can make decisions about what to sell and how to sell it. They should be able to sell whatever products or services they see fit.

Businesses have a right to set policies in their stores and change the product offerings as often as they like. (I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this… Walmart, Dicks, NASCAR…)

Now, whether those products, services, and policies line up with their existing customer base is up to the business management to decide. BUT! When a company is so out of touch with their own customer base that they enact policies that turn people away, they are the ones that will suffer. They will lose customers. They will see sales go to alternatives (because there is ALWAYS an alternative).

Take us for example… AmmoSquared is an alternative to Walmart for ammunition. We don’t sell wicker baskets, troll dolls, or pool noodles… but we do sell ammunition. That is our business. It is all we do.  We may talk about gun politics because that is the business we’re in. We don’t however have a political stance on pool chemicals, sustainable wicker growing practices or depleting the troll habitat…. that would be wrong.

What to sell is Walmart’s choice as a company and they will suffer the loss of sales because of it.

While I respect Walmart’s ability to make that choice, I feel that it will have ramifications and impact their bottom line like it did for Dick’s Sporting Goods. (Who recently suffered greatly from their Anti-2A stance.).  But since I’m not on the Walmart Board of Directors, nobody asked me for an opinion.

Unfortunately, this decision is part of a larger, unsettling, trend. These days it is politically correct to be against “assault weapons”, “high capacity magazines” and for “gun safety” and “common sense background checks” without really understanding what those words mean. People don’t draw the logical conclusions to what a world with severely restricted gun ownership means.

If you are against gun ownership, then you are against freedom. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t claim to be trying to make the world a better place and support policies that limit personal freedom. Unless your idea of a “better world” is one where those at the top have all the power and those at the bottom are the ones being controlled?

Many corporations are making bad policy decisions based on personal politics under the guise of “corporate responsibility”. These large companies attempt to enact social (socialist?) change through their sheer size and political influence… even if it is not what the people in general, or their customers in particular, want.

Maybe these corporate CEO’s should listen to one of the worlds richest men for advice instead:

“I do not believe in imposing my political opinions on the activities of our businesses, and if we get into what companies are pure and which ones aren’t pure, I think it is very difficult to make that call.”  – Warren Buffet

Warren Buffet realizes that personal politics and GOOD business don’t mix. Let people (ie: your customers) decide for themselves what to buy or not buy.

Now, if you are the head of a multinational corporation, what do you care? You can press your own fairy-tale politics and policies if you want. You are the king of your own little kingdom… right?

Well, some may think so, but in reality, every CEO has a boss. He (or she) answers to the Board of Directors and even they have a boss too. The Board answers to the Shareholders. Here is a business secret that loops us all the way back to the beginning: while it is true that the management of a company is free to make decisions based on personal politics, once they lose customers and sales start declining, they have to answer to their board and shareholders for those decisions.

If they try to go against their customers and enact policies that push their personal agenda, they might be entering a world of pain… (as Dick’s CEO Ed Stack found out).

Walter’s approach might not work here… so we need an alternative (legal) strategy:

**As a 2A Community, the most important power we hold with companies trying to take “corporate responsibility” too far is the power of the purse. Where we spend our money has huge implications in which companies survive and thrive and which companies struggle and fail. **

So as you go about the business of life and you are looking at where to spend your money, choose to spend money with those that either supports the 2nd Amendment (ideal) or at least choose those that are not out there trying to enact hair-brained “corporate responsibility” schemes aimed at taking away your rights. The better a business sticks to its business the better!


PS:  Here is a list to get you started. It consists of 150 anti-gun CEOs who recently sent a letter to the Senate pushing their anti-gun agenda. Notable names include both Uber and Lyft, Airbnb, DoorDash, Yelp, and Twitter.

Organizations with more than 500 employees :
Brian Chesky, Co-Founder, Head of Community and CEO, Airbnb
KeithMestrich, President and CEO, Amalgamated Bank
John Connaughton and Jonathan Lavine, Co-Managing Partners, and Josh Bekenstein and
Steve Pagliuca, Co-Chairmen, Bain Capital
Ethan Brown, Co-Founder and CEO, Beyond Meat
Peter T. Grauer, Chairman, Bloomberg LP
Ric Clark, Chairman, Brookfield Property Group
Fritz Lanman, CEO , ClassPass
Roger Lynch, CEO, CondéNast
Ken Lin, Founder and CEO, Credit Karma
Edward Stack, CEO, DICK ‘S SportingGoods
Tony Xu, Co-Founder and CEO, DoorDash
Doug Baker, Chairman and CEO, Ecolab
Richard Edelman, President and CEO, Edelman
Julia Hartz, Co-Founder and CEO, Eventbrite
Art Peck, CEO, Gap Inc.
Eddy Lu, CEO GoatGroup
Ben Lerer, Co-Founder and CEO, Group NineMedia
Yannick Bolloré, CEO, Havas Group
BillKoenigsberg, President, CEO and Founder, HorizonMedia
Patrick O . Brown, MD, Ph.D., Founder and CEO, Impossible Foods
Michael Roth, Chairman and CEO, Interpublic
Rob Frohwein, Co-Founder and CEO, and Kathryn Petralia, Co-Founder and President,
Kabbage Inc. and Drum Technologies
Chip Bergh, President and CEO, Levi Strauss & Co.
Logan Green, Co-Founder and CEO, and John Zimmer, Co-Founder and President, Lyft
Dev Ittycheria, President and CEO, MongoDB, Inc.
Howard Marks, Co-Chairman, Oaktree CapitalManagement
Todd McKinnon, Co-Founder and CEO, Okta
John Wren, Chairman and CEO, Omnicom Group
Ben Silbermann, Co-Founder and CEO, Pinterest
Bastian Lehmann, Co-Founder & CEO, Postmates
Hamid R . Moghadam, Chairman and CEO, Prologis
Arthur Sadoun, Chairman and CEO, Publicis Groupe
Steve Huffman, CEO, Reddit
Richard Fain, CEO, RoyalCaribbean Cruises Ltd.
ScottRechler, Chairman and CEO, RXR Realty
Jon Oringer, Founder and CEO, Shutterstock
Jack Dorsey, CEO, Square and Twitter
Anthony Casalena, Founder and CEO, Squarespace
Zander Lurie, CEO, SurveyMonkey
Arianna Huffington, Founder and CEO, Thrive Global
Blake Mycoskie, Founder and Chief Shoe Giver, and Jim Alling, CEO, TOMS
Jeff Lawson, Co-Founder and CEO Twilio
DaraKhosrowshahi, CEO, Uber
Mark Read CEO, WPP
JeremyStoppelman, Co-Founder and CEO, Yelp

Organizations with fewer than 500 employees:
Kevin P . Ryan, Founder and CEO, AlleyCorp
Travis Truett, Co-Founder and CEO, Ambition
John W . Rogers, Jr., Founder, Chairman and Co -CEO, and Mellody Hobson, Co-CEO &
President, Ariel Investments, LLC
Mike Steib, CEO, Artsy
Sean Knapp, Co-Founder and CEO, Ascend
Andrei Cherny, Co-Founder and CEO, Aspiration
Abdur Chowdhury, CEO, Aura
Fahim M . Aziz, Founder and CEO, Backpack
Abrams, Chairman and Co-CEO, and Katie McGrath, Co-CEO Bad Robot
Ari Paparo, CEO, BeeswaxIO Corporation
Ryan Block, Co-Founder, Begin
John Borthwick, Founder and CEO, Betaworks
Raphael Crawford -Marks, Co-Founder and CEO, Bonusly
Darren Lachtman , Co-Founder , Brat
Trevor McFedries, CEO, Brud
Sameer Shariff, Co-Founder , Cambly
Analisa Goodin, Founder and CEO, Catch & Release, Inc.
Andrew Feldman, Founder and CEO, Cerebral Systems
George Favvas, CEO, Circle Medical
Alex MacCaw, CEO, Clearbit
Tyler Bosmeny, CEO, Clever
MattMartin, Co-Founder and CEO, Clockwise
Othman Laraki, Co-Founder and CEO Color Genomics
Jager McConnell, CEO, Crunchbase, Inc.
Apu Gupta, Co-Founder and CEO, Curalate, Inc .
David Oates, Co-Founder and CEO, Curtsy
Brian Ree, Founder and CEO, DAILYLOOK
Saurabh Ladha, CEO, Doxel, Inc.
Andy Coravos, Co-Founder and CEO, Elektra Labs
Laurene Powell Jobs, President, Emerson Collective
Pradeep Elankumaran, Co-Founder & CEO Farmstead
Desiree Gruber, CEO, Full Picture
Jared Hecht, Founder and CEO, Fundera
JudeGomila, Founder and CEO, Golden
Rick Nucci, Co-Founder and CEO, Guru
Kara Goldin, Founder and CEO, Hint, Inc.
Jeff Sellinger, Co-Founder and CEO, HipDot
Prerna Gupta, CEO, Hooked
Cyrus Massoumi, Managing Partner, humbition
Kristin Savilia, CEO, JOOR
Pierre Valade, CEO, Jumbo Privacy
William Martino, Founder and CEO, Kadena
Jake Perlman -Garr, CEO, Kanga
Warren Shaeffer, Co-Founder and CEO, Knowable
Jack Altman, CEO Lattice
Aaron N . Block, Co-Founder and Managing Director, MetaProp.
Afton Vechery, Co-Founder and CEO, Modern Fertility
Dan Parham, Founder and CEO, and Tee Parham, Founder and CTO Neighborland
Shafqat Islam, CEO, NewsCred
Sarah Friar, CEO, Nextdoor
Athan Stephanopoulos, President, NowThis
Varsha Rao, CEO, Nurx
William E . Oberndorf, Chairman, Oberndorf Enterprises
Steven Rosenblatt, Co-Founder and General Partner, Oceans
Nick Huzar, Co-Founder and CEO, OfferUp
James Segil, Co-Founder and President, Openpath
Jordan Husney, CEO, Parabol
Doug Aley, CEO, Paravision
John Milinovich, CEO, Plato Design
Rajat Suri, CEO, Presto
Christopher Gavigan, Founder and CEO, Prima
Adam Regelmann, Founder and COO, Quartzy
Nate Maslak, Co-Founder and CEO, and Nate Fox, Co-Founder and CTO, Ribbon Health
Zachariah Reitano, Co-Founder and CEO, Ro
Gary Beasley, Co-Founder and CEO, Roofstock
Stephen Ehikian, Co-Founder and CEO, Ruist
Brian Schechter, CEO, SelfMade
Olga Vidisheva, Founder and CEO, Shoptiques Inc.
Dan Doctoroff, CEO, Sidewalk Labs
Jason Tan, CEO, Sift
Matt Cooper, CEO, Skillshare
Grant Jordan, CEO, SkySafe
Josh Guttman, Co-Founder and CEO and Florent Peyre, Co-Founder and President, Small Door
Michael Carvin, Co-Founder and CEO SmartAsset
Aaron King, Founder and CEO, Snapdocs, Inc.
Neil Capel, CEO, Solve. io
Ben Hindman, Co-Founder and CEO, Splash
Evan Beard, Founder and CEO Standard Bots
Stanlee R . Gatti, Founder, Stanlee R . Gatti Designs
Bradford Oberwager, CEO, Sundia Corporation
Ross Feinstein, CEO, Sunlight Health
Paul Budnitz, CEO, Superplastic
Ron Conway, Founder, SV Angel
HeidiZak, Co-Founder and Co-CEO, and David Spector, Co-Founder and Co- CEO ThirdLove
Yashar Nejati, CEO, thisopenspace inc.
Joshua Kushner, Founder and Managing Partner Thrive Capital
Chris Wang, CEO, ThunderCore Inc.
Corbett Kull, CEO, Tillable
Meghan Jewitt, CEO, Uniform Teeth
Nicholas Goldner, Co-Founder and CEO, and Christopher Bulow, Co-Founder and COO
Viosera Therapeutics
Ken Chong, CEO Virtual Kitchen Co
Irv Remedios, CEO, Voxer
Oliver Cameron, Co-Founder and CEO Voyage
Chase Adam, Co-Founder and CEO, and Grace Garey, Co-Founder and COO, Watsi
Liz Wessel, Co-Founder and CEO, WayUp
NeilWaller, CEO, Whalar
Bismarck Lepe, CEO, Wizeline
Dennis R . Mortensen, Founder and CEO, x .ai, inc.
Geoff Ralston, President, Y Combinator
Shan-Lyn Ma, Co-Founder and CEO Zola