The retail giant outlines new policies about gun sales and usage in its locations

By Steve Helling
September 03, 2019 04:18 PM
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Walmart storefront
Gene J Puskar/AP/Shutterstock

Walmart has announced that it will reduce gun and ammunition sales, and the retailer publicly called on elected officials to pass laws to strengthen background checks.

On Tuesday, Walmart announced that it will cease the sales of ammunition commonly used in assault-style weapons as well as that used in handguns.

The sales will stop after Walmart sells its current inventory. Additionally, Walmart will stop the sales of handguns in Alaska — the only state where they still sell them.

In a public statement addressed to Walmart employees, CEO Doug McMillon referenced last month’s mass shooting in an El Paso Walmart that killed 22 people.

“We have been focused on store safety and security,” McMillon writes. “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.”

In addition to the change in its gun sales, Walmart has requested that customers no longer openly carry guns into its stores in states that allow open carry.

“We have had well-intentioned customers acting lawfully that have inadvertently caused a store to be evacuated and local law enforcement to be called to respond,” McMillon writes. “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.”

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“We believe the opportunity for someone to misinterpret a situation, even in open carry states, could lead to tragic results,” he continues. “We hope that everyone will understand the circumstances that led to this new policy and will respect the concerns of their fellow shoppers and our associates.”

Customers with concealed carry permits will still be allowed to bring their firearms into the stores.

McMillon told his employees that he is “sending letters to the White House and the Congressional leadership that call for action on these common sense measures.”

“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,” he writes. “We do not sell military-style rifles, and we believe the reauthorization of the Assault Weapons ban should be debated to determine its effectiveness. We must also do more, as a country, to understand the root causes that lead to this type of violent behavior.”