Walmart did an about face Friday (Oct. 30) after the retail giant announced Thursday plans to remove guns and ammo from shelves amid civil unrests in certain parts of the country. Walmart initially said it would continue to sell the products, but they would not be in public areas.
Walmart reversed that decision Friday with the following statement: “After civil unrest earlier this week resulted in damage to several of our stores, consistent with actions we took over the summer, we asked stores to move firearms and ammunition from the sales floor to a secure location in the back of the store in an abundance of caution. As the current incidents have remained geographically isolated, we have made the decision to begin returning these products to the sales floor today.”
Walmart sells firearms in about half of its 4,700 U.S. stores where large concentrations of hunters live. This is the second time Walmart has pulled firearms in recent months, doing so in June following the death of George Floyd and the protests that followed.
Gun sales increased this year as consumers have bought roughly 15.1 million guns between March and September, according to The Trace, a nonprofit news organization that focuses on gun issues. Firearm sales are up 91% from the same period last year.
The NSSF, a firearm industry trade group, reported in August nearly 5 million U.S. consumers became first-time gun buyers in the first seven months of 2020.