UPDATE: Walmart's schedule just opened up.
“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,” Walmart spokesman David Tovar told The Wall Street Journal.
“We underestimated the expectation to attend the meeting on Thursday in person, so we are sending an appropriate representative to participate.”
EARLIER: Walmart, America's largest gun-seller, was invited to the White House to meet with vice president Joe Biden's task force against gun violence.
Unfortunately, Walmart is not going to be able to attend.
The retailer cited a "scheduling conflict."
“The White House reached out to a number of groups and businesses, but unfortunately we are unable to attend the meeting on Thursday,” Walmart spokesman David Tovar told The Wall Street Journal.
Biden's task force to curb gun violence is meeting with a wide range of organizations this week. On Thursday, he's scheduled to meet with gun owners' groups, including the National Rifle Association.
“We’ve had the opportunity to share experiences with the White House on how to sell firearms responsibly and continue to stay engaged in the conversation,” assured Tovar.
The retailer has been speaking with the White House about firearm sales since the horrific shootings at an elementary school in Newtown, CT.
"On one hand, folks on all sides of the issue have been eager to participate in what's sure to be a policy-making conversation about gun control," wrote Adam Clark Estes at The Atlantic Wire. "They'd just look insensitive if they turned their backs on the victims of the Sandy Hook shootings at this point."
"On the other hand, as the nation's largest gun seller, Walmart has an obvious economic stake in this debate and has said that gun sales are a big part of its strategy going forward."
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