Walmart’s New Firearm Policy

Raquel Perry, Reporter/Marketing Manager

The famous retail giant, Walmart, has made several new changes to its firearm policy following a fatal mass shooting in El Paso, Texas. The company, which had been committed to its “long heritage” of “serving responsible hunters and sportsmen and women,” decided that it will be ending the sale of handguns in Alaska and will discontinue selling ammunition for handguns nationwide, according to Business Insider. The retailer is also requesting that customers refrain from openly carrying guns into its stores.

“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,” according to a memo by Walmart’s CEO Doug McMillon circulated to employees Tuesday afternoon. “The status quo is unacceptable.”

According to AP News, the retailer is also requesting that customers refrain from openly carrying firearms at its Walmart and Sam’s Club stores, unless they are law enforcement officers. However, it said that it won’t be changing its policy for customers who have permits for concealed carry. Walmart says it will be adding signage in stores to inform customers of those changes.

Last month, a gunman entered a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, killing 22 people. Texas became an open carry state in 2016, allowing people to openly carry firearms in public.

According to Tuesday’s memo, Walmart’s moves will reduce its market share of ammunition from around 20% to a range of about 6% to 9%.

Many gun control activists have supported Walmart’s new policies. They say that Walmart’s latest steps should send a strong message to Congress because of Walmart’s popularity.

“Walmart deserves enormous credit for joining the strong and growing majority of Americans who know that we have too many guns in our country and they are too easy to get,” said Igor Volsky, executive director and founder of Guns Down America, in a statement. “That work doesn’t end with Walmart’s decision today.

Some gun manufacturers, such as Vista Outdoors and Smith & Wesson parent company American Outdoor Brands Corp., saw their shares fall.

Other companies have responded by restricting gun sales. Dick’s Sporting Goods announced in March it would stop selling firearms and ammunition at 125 of its 700-plus locations. Kroger’s said last year that it would stop selling firearms and ammunition at its Fred Meyer stores in the Pacific Northwest. On Tuesday, Kroger joined Walmart in asking customers not to openly carry their guns when visiting its stores.

The National Rifle Association posted a tweet attacking Walmart’s announcement, stating that “it is shameful to see Walmart succumb to the pressure of the anti-gun elites. Lines at Walmart will soon be replaced by lines at other retailers who are more supportive of America’s fundamental freedoms.”