Walmart to restrict gun and ammunition sales; calls on President and Congress to act

by Kim Souza (ksouza@talkbusiness.net) 1,040 views 

Walmart will discontinue the sale of all short-barrel rifle ammunition that can be used with military-style weapons as well as handgun ammunition. The retail giant will also stop selling handguns in Alaska, according to a memo from CEO Doug McMillon.

“After visiting El Paso on Aug. 6, I mentioned that we would be thoughtful and deliberate in our responses. We’re ready to share our next steps,” McMillon noted in the Tuesday (Sept. 3) note. “We’ve been giving a lot of thought to our sale of firearms and ammunition. We’ve previously made decisions to stop selling handguns or military-style rifles such as the AR-15, to raise the age limit to purchase a firearm or ammunition to 21, to require a ‘green light’ on a background check while federal law only requires the absence of a ‘red light,’ to videotape the point of sale for firearms and to only allow certain trained associates to sell firearms.”

The latest adjustment in the Walmart gun sales policy will take effect as soon as the inventory and contract commitments are satisfied. McMillon said Alaska is the last state where Walmart sells handguns.

“We know these decisions will inconvenience some of our customers, and we hope they will understand. … Our remaining assortment will be even more focused on the needs of hunting and sport shooting enthusiasts. It will include long barrel deer rifles and shotguns, much of the ammunition they require, as well as hunting and sporting accessories and apparel. We believe these actions will reduce our market share of ammunition from around 20% to a range of approximately 6 to 9%. We believe it will likely drift toward the lower end of that range, over time, given the combination of these changes,” McMillon noted in the memo.

He also said Walmart is respectfully asking customers to no longer openly carry firearms in Walmart stores or Sam’s Clubs in those states that allow for “open carry” unless they are authorized law enforcement officers.

“We believe the opportunity for someone to misinterpret a situation, even in open carry states, could lead to tragic results. 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,” McMillon noted.

He said his leadership team was briefed of the changes Tuesday morning and they would inform their teams on how to notify customers. Walmart will erect signage in stores to communicate the changes.

McMillon said Walmart will continue to work with the retail industry to increase safety by sharing best practices. He said Walmart also encourages the nation’s leaders to move forward and strengthen background checks and remove weapons from those determined to pose an imminent danger. Walmart does not sell military-grade rifles and the company believes the reauthorization of the Assault Weapons ban should be debated to determine its effectiveness, McMillon noted.

“We must also do more, as a country, to understand the root causes that lead to this type of violent behavior. Today, I’m sending letters to the White House and the Congressional leadership that call for action on these common-sense measures. As we’ve seen before, these horrific events occur and then the spotlight fades. We should not allow that to happen. Congress and the administration should act. Given our decades of experience selling firearms, we are also offering to serve as a resource in the national debate on responsible gun sales,” he stated.

McMillon said Walmart wants to do what is best for its employees, customers and communities.

“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,” McMillon concluded.

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