KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
September 5, 2019
By Natalie Cook Clark
America's largest retailer with a large local presence will not longer sell handgun ammunition. Walmart and Sam's Club are also asking customers to not carry guns in their stores. The decision came earlier this week in response to a string of recent mass shootings. Two shootings occurred in Walmart stores with one being in El Paso.
Walmart Announces They Won't Sell Handgun Ammo
Katy is feeling the effects of the the gun debate. Walmart announced earlier this week that they will no longer sell handgun ammunition or "short-barrel rifle ammunition," such as the .223 caliber and 5.56 caliber, that can also be used on assault-style weapons.
Customers Asked to Not Openly Carry in Stores
The retailer is also asking their customers to not openly carry guns in any of their retail locations.
"We believe the opportunity for someone to misinterpret a situation, even in open carry states, could lead to tragic results," says Walmart CEO Doug McMillon in a memo sent to Walmart employees outlining the reason behind the new policy. "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."
Decision Comes After Two Recent Walmart Mass Shootings
"It's clear to us that the status quo is unacceptable," says McMillon.
This decision comes after a string of mass shootings have plagued the nation. Last July, a shooting occurred at a Walmart in Mississippi. Then on August 3, a shooter opened fire in an El Paso Walmart which resulted in the deaths of 22 people.
Although open carry will be banned moving forward, McMillon wrote that concealed firearms will be allowed if people have the permits for those weapons.
By making these changes to their firearms market, Walmart’s share of all ammunition sales is expected to drop from 20 percent to around 9 percent.
New Policies Explained
In a media statement, a Walmart spokesperson explained the new policies:
“We will treat law-abiding customers with respect, and we will have a very non-confrontational approach. We will respectfully request that they do not carry. The discretion will be given to the store manager. If there is not imminent threat, the store manager can ask them to leave the weapon in the vehicle for next time. If the customer is causing concern or fear with customers or associates, the store manager can then approach the customer and/or follow necessary protocols for a potential active shooter. In some states, open carry is very common, so again, some discretion will be given to the store manager.”
NRA Speaks Out
The National Rifle Association (NRA) issued a statement in response:
“It is shameful to see Walmart succumb to the pressure of the anti-gun elites. Lines at Walmart will soon be replaced by lines at other retailers who are more supportive of America’s fundamental freedoms.”
A Political Hot Topic
The gun debate is a hot topic for the upcoming election and candidates are weighing in. Former Congressman from El Paso, Beto O'Rourke took to Twitter to chime in.
“This is a step in the right direction — and I’m grateful Walmart has taken action — but we can’t rely on corporations to stop gun violence,” says O’Rourke. “We need universal background checks, we need red flag laws, and we need to buy back every single assault weapon.”
Not The First Retailer to Alter Gun/Ammo Sales
Walmart is not the first retailer to alter how they sell guns or ammunition. Following the February 2017 shooting that killed 17 people in Parkland, Florida, Dick's raised the purchasing age for firearms from 18 to 21. The company said it would no longer sell assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and bump stocks in any of its 730 U.S. stores. Rather than sell their remaining assault rifle inventory to another retailer, Dick's destroyed them.
Walmart Commits to Work With Other Retailers, Encourages Government Involvement
"As an additional step, we commit we will work alongside other retailers to make the overall industry safer, including sharing our best practices," says McMillion. "Finally, 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."
Katy Magazine reached out to our local Walmart locations and Walmart Corporate Media Department and were forwarded the official statement made by Walmart CEO Doug McMillon. Read his full statement.