Walmart To End All Handgun & Ammunition Sales
Walmart, America’s largest retailer, said Tuesday it will discontinue all sales of handgun ammunition and sales of short-barrel rifle ammunition that can be used with assault and military-style weapons, following two “horrific” shootings at Walmart stores this summer.
Walmart will also stop selling handguns in Alaska, the only state where it still sells handguns. And Walmart will request that customers no longer openly carry guns into its 4,700 US stores, or its Sam’s Club stores, in states that allow open carry.
“It’s clear to us that the status quo is unacceptable,” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in a memo to employees on Tuesday.
However, Walmart will continue to sell long barrel deer rifles and shotguns and much of the ammunition for those guns. The company sells guns in about 3,900 stores. Walmart will also continue to allow concealed carry by customers with permits in its stores.
According to CNN.com, McMillon said Walmart’s changes were primarily prompted by recent mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and Midland and Odessa, Texas and the El Paso, Texas shooting.
On August 3, a Walmart in El Paso was the scene of one of the worst mass shootings in American history. Federal investigators are treating the shooting as an act of domestic terrorism.
“We know these decisions will inconvenience some of our customers, and we hope they will understand,” McMillon said. “As a company, we experienced two horrific events in one week, and we will never be the same.”
In the wake of the shootings, Walmart has faced enormous pressure to remove firearms from its physical stores and criticized for selling pro-gun T-shirts on its website. Several Democratic candidates for president have called on Walmart to stop selling guns at its stores. America’s largest teachers’ union, The American Federation of Teachers, and gun safety groups have pressed the retailer to end its gun sales.
Walmart previously pulled displays of violent video games in its stores and also removed about 1,000 third-party items from its website.
“We feel like we are striking a responsible balance between the interests of law-abiding citizens who are exercising their legal rights and the safety concerns of our associates and customers,” Dan Bartlett, Walmart executive vice president of corporate affairs, said.
Walmart estimates it has about a 20% market share of ammunition sales.
McMillion, who is a gun owner himself, was careful to be apart of the solution without alienating customers who are also gun owners.
“We will treat law-abiding customers with respect, and we will have a very non-confrontational approach,” Bartlett said. “Our remaining assortment will be even more focused on the needs of hunting and sport shooting enthusiasts.”
In addition, McMillon said that he would send letters to the White House and congressional leaders that “call for action” on “common sense” gun safety measures. McMillon said Congress should debate re-authorizing the assault weapons ban and expand background checks.
“We encourage our nation’s leaders to move forward and strengthen background checks and to remove weapons from those who…