Walmart Removed Guns and Ammo From Sales Floor for Fear of Post-Election Civil Unrest—but Suddenly Reversed Decision

Illustration for article titled Walmart Removed Guns and Ammo From Sales Floor for Fear of Post-Election Civil Unrest—but Suddenly Reversed Decision
Photo: Jonathan Weiss (Shutterstock)

No matter how next Tuesday turns out, the days and weeks following Election Day are going to be wild. Citing fears of civil unrest, Walmart made the decision to remove guns and ammo from the sales floor of all its stores, only to strangely quickly reverse it.


CBS News reports that the company previously did this over the summer during the protests that arose following George Floyd’s death. “We have seen some isolated civil unrest, and as we have done on several occasions over the last few years, we have moved our firearms and ammunition off the sales floor as a precaution for the safety of our associates and customers,” a Walmart spokesperson wrote in an email to CBS. “These items do remain available for purchase by customers.”

Apparently, something changed in the last 24 hours because they have now reversed the decision. According to NBC News, the retailer has decided to keep guns and ammo on the sales floor of its stores. Walmart spokesperson Kory Lundberg told NBC News in an email that the company initially made the move due to “an abundance of caution,” due to instances of civil unrest across the country.

Lundberg added, “as the current incidents have remained geographically isolated, we have made the decision to begin returning these products to the sales floor today.”

I just, I don’t get it? Like, why announce something only to change it 24 hours later? It doesn’t even look like this was the result of public backlash, they just said “You know what? Nah.”

While the nation’s largest retailer is still a major seller of guns and ammo, it has significantly scaled back the presence of guns in its stores. Only half of the retailer’s 4,700 U.S. stores currently sell guns, following the countless mass shootings that have occurred within the last decade.

The company stopped selling assault-style guns such as the AR-15 in 2015, raised the minimum age to buy guns and ammo in its stores from 18 to 21 three years later, and just last year it stopped selling ammo for assault-style weapons following a mass shooting in an El Paso, Texas Walmart that killed 23 people.


While the company has made moves to limit gun sales in its stores, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon has elected not to pull the company out of the gun trade altogether. Instead, the company has shifted its focus on guns for hunting and sport.

“We believe these actions will reduce our market share of ammunition from around 20 percent to a range of approximately 6 to 9 percent,” McMillon said in 2019.


Overall, gun sales have risen dramatically this year, with first-time gun buyers accounting for forty percent of gun sales this year, according to a survey from the National Shooting Sports Foundation. The survey also found that in the first half of this year, there were 12.1 million background checks for guns, up almost 72 percent from the year before.

I really hope that next week we can look back on stories like these and laugh at how hyperbolic this all seemed. Unfortunately, this has been a year of unprecedented wilding.


I mean, the fact a group of white domestic terrorists considered kidnapping and executing a sitting governor because they didn’t want to wear face masks certainly gives me pause when thinking about what’s going to happen post-Election Day.

So, with that said, please allow me to give this quick G.I. Joe PSA:

Hey kids, it’s ya boi.

This Tuesday we have a very important election coming up and, unfortunately, a small but incredibly violent group of white folks have shown they’ve lost any and all ability to act right. It’s all but certain these folks are going to show up on Election Day to try and keep you from exercising your constitutional right.


While I highly encourage you to vote if you can, I also want you to stay safe. So, if at all possible, consider voting early this weekend to (hopefully) avoid long lines, and any potential confrontations with folks who will use racial slurs and perhaps even violence to make sure the Grand Wizard President of the United States remains the same. Perhaps consider taking a friend or two with you to go vote so you can look out for each other’s safety.

Also, remember to keep a face mask on deck. COVID-19 cases are rising nationwide and I don’t want you to become a statistic.


If you didn’t know shit was getting this real, now you do—and knowing is half the battle.

Now, go watch Duck Tales or something to keep the Saturday morning vibes going.

The stylin', profilin', limousine riding, jet flying, wheelin' and dealin' nerd of The Root.


Manic Otti

“Overall, gun sales have risen dramatically this year, with first-time gun buyers accounting for forty percent of gun sales this year”

Ahhh yes, I’m sure even mooooaaar guns will solve all our problems.