Walmart Will No Longer Sell Certain Ammunition or Allow Open Carry in Wake of Store Shootings
After shootings in El Paso, Texas and Southaven Mississippi, Walmart’s CEO says it will stop selling handguns completely and ask customers not to openly carry their firearms in stores.
- By Haley Samsel
- Sep 03, 2019
In response to recent shootings at two Walmart stores that claimed over two dozen lives, the company announced Tuesday that it will stop selling certain kinds of ammunition and discontinue handgun sales in Alaska, signifying Walmart’s complete exit from the handgun market.
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon wrote in a statement that the policy changes were a direct result of two tragedies that took place in late July and early August: the July 30 killing of two Walmart managers by a disgruntled worker in Southaven, Mississippi and the hate-fueled mass shooting in El Paso, Texas on Aug. 3 that led to 22 deaths.
“We have been focused on store safety and security,” McMillon said. “We’ve also been listening to a lot of people inside and outside our company as we think about the role we can play in helping to make the country safer. It’s clear to us that the status quo is unacceptable.”
Now, Walmart stores will no longer sell short-barrel rifle ammunition, including .223 caliber and 5.56 caliber, because they can be used in large capacity clips on military-style weapons often used by mass killers. In addition, the company will no longer sell handgun ammunition nationwide or sell handguns in Alaska, the only state that Walmart continued to sell them after discontinuing handgun sales in the 1990s. McMillon wrote that the retailer will focused on the needs of hunting and sport shooting enthusiasts.
Outside of changes to Walmart’s gun and ammunition offerings, McMillon said his workers will now stop customers from openly carrying their weapons in stores. In the days and weeks after the El Paso shooting, multiple people attempted to carry their weapons into Walmart locations, including a Missouri man who was arrested for walking into a Walmart wearing body armor and holding a rifle.
While McMillon said some customers acted lawfully and inadvertently caused fear and store evacuations, the company would like to put a stop to the incidents entirely.
“These incidents are concerning and we would like to avoid them, so we are respectfully requesting that customers no longer openly carry firearms into our stores or Sam’s Clubs in states where ‘open carry’ is permitted – unless they are authorized law enforcement officers,” McMillon wrote.
He added that Walmart employees will treat “law-abiding customers with respect” and have a “very non-confrontational approach” in requesting that shoppers leave their weapons behind. Signs communicating the new policy will be posted around stores in coming weeks.
Gun control advocates and several Democratic presidential candidates applauded the move alongside calls for stronger action from Congress and Republican lawmakers. The National Rifle Association called the decision “shameful” and argued it would not make Americans any safer.
In his statement, McMillon said the company’s leadership supports strengthened background checks and removing weapons from people who have been determined to pose an imminent danger through “red flag laws.”
“We do not sell military-style rifles, and we believe the reauthorization of the Assault Weapons ban should be debated to determine its effectiveness,” McMillon said. “As we’ve seen before, these horrific events occur and then the spotlight fades. We should not allow that to happen. Congress and the administration should act.”