While insisting that Walmart remains committed to its “long heritage” of “serving responsible hunters and sportsmen and women,” the retail giant announced several changes following a pair of shootings at its stores.
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in a memo to employees that the company was ending the sale of handguns in Alaska and will discontinue selling ammunition for handguns nationwide, according to Business Insider — Alaska is the only state the retailer sells handguns in.
The sale of short-barrel rifle ammunition will also be discontinued nationwide.
We’ve been working to understand the many important issues arising from the horrific events in El Paso and Southaven, as well as those raised in the national discussion around gun violence. Today, we’re sharing some next steps: https://t.co/chWzGf6Amv pic.twitter.com/Ye3xjjRdrh
— Walmart Inc. (@WalmartInc) September 3, 2019
“After selling through our current inventory commitments, we will discontinue sales of short-barrel rifle ammunition such as the .223 caliber and 5.56 caliber that, while commonly used in some hunting rifles, can also be used in large capacity clips on military-style weapons,” McMillon said in the memo.
The CEO said the company understands “these decisions will inconvenience some of our customers, and we hope they will understand.”
“As a company, we experienced two horrific events in one week, and we will never be the same,” he said.
There was the recent shooting at Walmart stores in El Paso, Texas, that claimed 22 lives, and an incident in Southaven, Miss., were two store managers were killed and two others wounded.
In addition to the changes announced above, McMillon cited recent incidents were stores have been tested to say the company is “respectfully requesting” shoppers to no longer open carry in its stores, to include Sam’s Club — the change doesn’t apply to licensed carriers of concealed weapons.
“There have been multiple incidents since El Paso where individuals attempting to make a statement and test our response have entered our stores carrying weapons in a way that frightened or concerned our associates and customers,” the CEO said. “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.”
There appears to be some ambiguity over the policy.
A Walmart spokesman told Business Insider that going forward, store managers will have the discretion to decide how to handle open carry situations.
The business news site said store managers may ask the shopper to leave and safely secure their firearm in their vehicle before returning, although the policy could vary by location and those who open carry may not always be asked to leave the store.
McMillon told employees a letter has been sent to the White House and Congress in support of stronger gun-control 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 said. “We do not sell military-style rifles, and we believe the reauthorization of the Assault Weapons ban should be debated to determine its effectiveness.”
Here’s a sampling of some of the immediate responses to the announcement from Twitter:
So the larger, more powerful caliber is still available. They'll virtue signal by eliminating sales of the smaller caliber (and most popular for women who own rifles chambered for this).
Good grief, Walmart. https://t.co/xtGNvowbSE
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) September 3, 2019
I will continue my tradition of not shopping at #Walmart because of their decision to stop selling handgun ammunition. They are a shell of the great American company they used to be.
— Chris Loesch (@ChrisLoesch) September 3, 2019
Not that it matters to you, but the majority of ppl who own guns and buy ammo are LAW ABIDING and can find better places to shop for good prices. #2AShallNotBeInfringed #BoycottWalmartNow
— Trudy Bentley Rech (@Tbrech1) September 3, 2019
Just started shopping @Walmart again despite my support for small local retailers. Looks like @Walmart has once again confirmed why i stopped shopping in the first place… Walmart is no longer pro-American.
— ?Adam 4 America? (@AdamJubal) September 3, 2019
Please do not punish the majority to settle for the few!!! We “the law abiding citizens” deserve better!! ???????? Please rethink this with common sense not unresolved emotion!!
— Mary (@msgtmom10) September 3, 2019
Criminals will still carry is stores. Just like anywhere else. This will not change anything. Only the law abiding citizens will suffer now.
— InsaneWolfGaming (@insanewolf21_) September 3, 2019
Well… looks like in canceling my Sam’s membership today and boycotting walmart.
— Justin David (@wornouthorn) September 3, 2019
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