Walmart announced last week that it will be discontinuing sales of ammunition for handguns. This decision came in the wake of the many mass shootings that have occurred so far this year, including the 22 people that were killed in El Paso, Texas on August 3rd in a Walmart store.
The CEO of Walmart Doug McMillion published a memo September 3rd detailing their response to the recent mass shooting, and to the overall state of gun control issues that Walmart, as a seller of firearms, is involved in. The memo states, “…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…We must also do more, as a country, to understand the root causes that lead to this type of violent behavior.”
In addition to ending sale of handgun ammunition, Walmart announced it will no longer sell handguns in Alaska- the last stores they had carrying that style of firearm. Their memo also stated they will end sales of short barrelled rifle ammunition that can be used in high-capacity clips of military type firearms. Walmart also now requests that individuals who live in open carry states do not bring visible firearms into their stores. Walmart will continue providing long barreled shotguns, rifles, and ammunition for those firearms, along with equipment for hunting, but aim to do so in a responsible way.
Prior to these changes, Walmart made up about 2% of the firearms market and 20% of the ammunition market, and project that they will now occupy 6%-9% of the ammunition market and that that number will continue to shrink. Previous changes Walmart has made in response to the country’s gun control crisis is raising the age of firearms purchasers to 21, and ending sales of automatic weapons. They have also opted to remove violent video game advertisements and displays from the stores.
McMillion ended the memo by saying, “In a complex situation lacking a simple solution, we are trying to take constructive steps to reduce the risk that events like these will happen again. The status quo is unacceptable.”
How might other gun retailers be inspired by Walmart’s new policies? What local regulations regarding gun control have changed where you live in the past year?