Walmart is rethinking its firearm policies in the wake of a deadly mass shooting in one of its El Paso Supercenter locations earlier this year. The company announced in a statement earlier this month that it would be ceasing its sales of handguns as well as certain ammunition that could be used in military grade weapons. In addition to these changes, Walmart will also be enforcing a no carry policy within its stores and enforcing a greater background check on all firearm purchases made within the store. These changes mark a major shift in the overall corporate attitude toward guns and firearms in the midst of a controversial era for guns and firearms.
A deadly shooting that took place in a Walmart in Southaven, Mississippi earlier this year saw the death of two Walmart associates. Later in the year, a deadly mass shooting that took place in an El Paso location was revealed to have been racially fueled. The latter saw the loss of 22 lives and 48 wounded as a result of the attack. After store associates expressed outrage over the company’s firearm and open carry policies, the company knew it was time to stop and rethink its current policy. Store associates, as well as people within the El Paso community, have expressed their distaste for policies that contribute to relaxed attitudes toward firearms in public spaces. For this reason, Walmart has chosen to enforce a no carry policy in its stores to help foster and maintain a safer environment. The new rule impacts stores—both Walmart and Sam’s Club—where open carry is legal elsewhere.
“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,” reads a statement published to Walmart’s corporate website. “We have also had well-intentioned customers acting lawfully that have inadvertently caused a store to be evacuated and local law enforcement to be called to respond,” the statement continues. The company hopes that this decision will make both associates and customers feel safer in its stores—which includes both Walmart and Sam’s Club locations around the United States.
Walmart Prepares To Exit Firearm And Ammunition Market
Beyond banning customers from being able to carry firearms within its stores, Walmart is making changes to what it sells as well. The company, which previously sold a wide variety of ammunition and hand guns in certain states, is announcing its decision to migrate out of the firearm market for all but hunting purposes. “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; we will sell through and discontinue handgun ammunition; and we will discontinue handgun sales in Alaska, marking our complete exit from handguns,” said Walmart in a statement.
For the remaining firearms that the company does sell, it aims to tighten its rules surrounding background checks. The company will only complete the sale of a firearm pending a “green light” background check (the federal government only requires that a background check does not come up as a “red light”), as well as requiring that only certain trained associates can complete the sale. All firearm sales will be made in front of a camera in the stores going forward, as part of Walmarts aim to increase security within its stores. Walmart’s CEO Doug McMillan also used the opportunity to call upon the nation’s leaders to strengthen laws that make it harder for guns to fall into the wrong hands.