Does Walmart finally have a conscience?
On Tuesday, the largest retailer in America announced that it will no longer sell ammunition for assault-style rifles and handguns. This announcement came exactly one month to the day after a mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, claimed the lives of 22 people.
“We understand our heritage, our deeply rooted place in America and our influence as the world’s largest retailer. And we understand the responsibility that comes with it,” Doug McMillon, CEO and president of Walmart, said in a statement. “We want what’s best for our customers, our associates and our 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.”
In addition to ammunition, CNN reports that Walmart will cease handgun sales in Alaska—the only state where the company still sells them—and has implemented a new policy in which shoppers who open carry guns are no longer welcome in any of its nearly 5,000 stores.
For those wondering where Walmart stands on shotguns and long barrel deer rifles, they’ll continue to be sold. Additionally, concealed carry is still permissible as long as the customer in question has a permit.
“We feel like we are striking a responsible balance between the interests of law-abiding citizens who are exercising their legal rights and the safety concerns of our associates and customers,” Dan Bartlett, Walmart executive vice president of corporate affairs, told reporters during a conference call.
Last month, Walmart admitted that it’s responsible for selling roughly 2 percent of the guns in America, as well as an estimated 20 percent of ammunition sales. But by implementing these new changes, Walmart predicts its market share will drop to between 6 and 9 percent.
McMillon also stated he will challenge the White House and congressional leaders to establish “common sense” gun safety measures that include expanding background checks and banning assault weapons.
“We encourage our nation’s leaders to move forward and strengthen background checks and to remove weapons from those who have been determined to pose an imminent danger,” he said. “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.”