In the wake of some mass shootings, two of occurred on its premises, Walmart is nixing virtually all ammunition sales. The Associated Press first reported that only handgun ammunition would be taken off the shelves, but it looks like this will extend to rifle ammunition as well:
Walmart says it will discontinue the sale of handgun ammunition and also publicly request that customers refrain from openly carrying firearms in stores even where state laws allow it.
The announcement comes just days after a mass shooting claimed seven lives in Odessa, Texas and follows two other back-to-back shootings last month, one of them at a Walmart store.
The Bentonville, Arkansas-based discounter said Tuesday it will stop selling short-barrel and handgun ammunition, including .223 caliber and 5.56 caliber used in military style weapons, after it runs out of its current inventory. It will also discontinue handgun sales in Alaska, marking its complete exit from handguns and allowing it to focus on hunting rifles and related ammunition only.
Walmart’s moves will reduce its market share of ammunition from around 20% to a range of about 6% to 9%, according to Tuesday’s memo. About half of its more than 4,000 U.S. stores sell firearms.
The nation’s largest retailer has been facing increasing pressure to change its gun policies by gun control activists, employees and politicians after the El Paso shooting and a second unrelated shooting in Dayton, Ohio that killed nine people. A few days before that, two Walmart workers were killed by another worker at a store in Southaven, Mississippi.
Open carry will now be prohibited in all Walmart locations. This will not apply to concealed carry holders, according to The Wall Street Journal. Though the publication did note that rifle ammunition will also be targeted for discontinuation:
Ammunition that can be used in high-capacity magazines on assault-style guns, as well as all handgun ammunition will no longer be sold in stores, the company said. Walmart ended the sale of handguns in all stores except those in Alaska over two decades ago, but will now stop in the state as well.
“As a company, we experienced two horrific events in one week, and we will never be the same,” Walmart Chief Executive Doug McMillon said in an email to employees Tuesday. “Our remaining assortment will be even more focused on the needs of hunting and sport-shooting enthusiasts.”
Mr. McMillon said the company has no plans to discontinue all gun sales, adding that it has a long history of serving the hunting community and that founder Sam Walton was an avid hunter. The retailer’s firearm selection is focused on hunting rifles and shotguns.
Walmart will no longer allow shoppers to carry firearms openly inside any of its stores. Shoppers with concealed-carry permits can continue to carry guns, the company said.
Well, looks like Walmart has caved to the anti-gun crowd. That’s rather unfortunate.