Walmart Announces New Gun Policies One Month After El Paso Shooting

The retailer's CEO made the announcement on Tuesday in a letter to associates.

Photo Credit: MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Image

| September 03 2019,

6:25 pm

In the most anticipated response, Walmart's CEO Doug McMillion announced the end of handgun ammunition sales in Walmart's stores. The announcement came Tuesday, one month after the mass shooting in El Paso.

The shooting resulted in the deaths of more than 20 people and the weapon used was an AK-47. Sunday night, there was another shooting at a Walmart in Hobart, Indiana. Hobart Police Spokesman Lt. Jim Gonzales told the Chicago Tribune there was an altercation between people who know each other which escalated.

"We’ve been giving a lot of thought to our sale of firearms and ammunition. We’ve previously made decisions to stop selling handguns or military-style rifles such as the AR-15, to raise the age limit to purchase a firearm or ammunition to 21, to require a 'green light' on a background check while federal law only requires the absence of a 'red light,' to videotape the point of sale for firearms and to only allow certain trained associates to sell firearms," McMillion announced on Walmart's corporate website. 

The retailer is the biggest in the United States. Along with the handgun ammunition, McMillon says Walmart will end the sale of ammunition most often used in assault-style weapons and the sale of handguns in Alaska — the only state where they sell handguns. All of this will take effect after their current inventory is sold out.

Walmart went one step further and requested for customers — in states which allow it — to not openly carry guns while shopping across their 4,700 U.S. and Sam's Club stores. For those customers with concealed carry permits, Walmart says there will be no change to their policy or approach in that regard. 

"We will treat law-abiding customers with respect and we will have a very non-confrontational approach. Our priority is your safety. We will be providing new signage to help communicate this policy in the coming weeks," McMillion said.

The Walmart Hobart shooting heightened demands to end open carry in Walmart stores by groups such as Moms Demand Action.

In the Tuesday announcement, McMillon called on Congress to take further action to end the plague of gun violence in America.

"We encourage our nation's leaders to move forward and strengthen background checks and to remove weapons from those who have been determined to pose an imminent danger," McMillion said. "Congress and the administration should act. Given our decades of experience selling firearms, we are also offering to serve as a resource in the national debate on responsible gun sales."

So what is staying? 

McMillon says Walmart will shift their focus to the "needs" of hunting and sport shooting "enthusiasts." Those items will include long barrel deer rifles and shotguns, assortments of the ammunition they require, and hunting and sporting accessories and apparel.

"We believe these actions will reduce our market share of ammunition from around 20 percent to a range of approximately six to nine percent," McMillon said. "We believe it will likely drift toward the lower end of that range, over time, given the combination of these changes."

McMillon ended his corporate letter saying, "The status quo is unacceptable." 


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