Walmart Limits Gun and Ammunition Sales

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Source: Robert Workman, “Walmart Vows to Remove Violent Video Game Demos and Signs from Stores… But Not Actual Guns,” prosportsextra.com, Aug. 8, 2019

Walmart announced on Sep. 3, 2019 that the stores will stop selling short-barrel rifle ammunition that can be used in military-style guns, handgun ammunition, and handguns after current inventory is sold. The company estimates these changes will reduce their market share from 20% of all ammunition sold to a range of about 6 to 9%.

The announcement from CEO Doug McMillon comes after the Aug. 3, 2019 shooting in an El Paso, Texas, Walmart in which 22 people were killed, and after two Walmart employees were shot and killed by a coworker in Southaven, Mississippi, on July 30, 2019.

The retail giant had previously stopped selling handguns everywhere except Alaska. It also ended sales of military-style rifles such as the AR-15, raised the purchasing age for all guns and ammunition to 21, required a “green light” on federal background checks (federal law only requires no “red light”), recorded firearms points of sale, and only allowed trained employees to sell guns.

Walmart has also asked that customers in states with open carry laws no longer do so in Walmart or Sam’s Club stores.

McMillon committed Walmart to helping other firearms retailers make the industry safer and urged Congress to “strengthen background checks and to remove weapons from those who have been determined to pose an imminent danger.”

The stores will still sell some hunting weapons and ammunition, including long barrel deer rifles and shotguns.

Dan Bartlett, Walmart Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs, stated, “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.”

Earlier this month, at least four 2020 democratic candidates called on Walmart to end gun sales, including Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Julian Castro, and Cory Booker.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) said in response to the announcement, “It is shameful to see Walmart succumb to the pressure of the anti-gun elites… The truth is Walmart’s actions today will not make us any safer. Rather than place the blame on the criminal, Walmart has chosen to victimize law-abiding Americans.”

Discussion Questions – Things to Think About
1. Should Walmart, or other big box retailers, sell firearms or ammunition? Why or why not?

2. Should retailers be allowed to ban open carry when the state allows it? Why or why not?

3. Should Congress enact more gun control laws? Why or why not? If yes, which laws?

Sources:

Matthew Boyle and Polly Mosendz, “Walmart to Curtail Ammunition Sales after Store Shootings,” bloomberg.com, Sep. 3, 2019

Julia La Roche, “Walmart to End Certain Gun Ammunition Sales; Asks Shoppers Not to Open Carry,” finance.yahoo.com, Sep. 3, 2019

Thomas Kaplan, “Four Democratic Candidates Call on Walmart to Stop Selling Guns,” nytimes.com, Aug. 9, 2019

Doug McMillon, “McMillon to Associates: Our Next Steps in Response to the Tragedies in El Paso and Southaven,” corporate.walmart.com, Sep. 3, 2019

Nathaniel Meyersohn, “Walmart Ends All Handgun Ammunition Sales and Asks Customers Not to Carry Guns into Stores,” cnn.com, Sep. 3, 2019

Stephen Sorace, “Walmart to Stop Alaska Handgun Sales, End Sales of Short-barrel Rifle and Handgun Ammo Nationwide; NRA Hits Back,” foxnews.com, Sep. 3, 2019

Lauren Thomas, “Read the Full Memo from Walmart’s CEO about Pulling Back on Gun Sales, Asking the Government to Act,” cnbc.com, Sep. 3, 2019

Lauren Thomas, “Walmart Plans to Dramatically Step Back from Gun Sales after ‘Horrific’ Shootings,” cnbc,com, Sep. 3, 2019