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Walmart ends all handgun ammunition sales and asks customers not to carry guns into stores

Walmart on Tuesday announced it will reduce its gun and ammunition sales, one month after more than 20 people were killed in a...

Posted: Sep 4, 2019 9:53 AM

Walmart on Tuesday announced it will reduce its gun and ammunition sales, one month after more than 20 people were killed in a mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. Walmart also pressured Congress to enact gun safety measures.

The company, America's largest retailer, said it will stop selling handgun ammunition and "short-barrel rifle ammunition," such as the .223 caliber and 5.56 caliber, that can also be used on assault-style weapons after selling all of its current inventory. Walmart will also stop selling handguns in Alaska, the only state where it still sells handguns. And Walmart will request that customers no longer openly carry guns into its 4,700 US stores, or its Sam's Club stores, in states that allow open carry.

"It's clear to us that the status quo is unacceptable," Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in a memo to employees on Tuesday.

However, Walmart will continue to sell long barrel deer rifles and shotguns and much of the ammunition for those guns. The company sells guns in about 3,900 stores. Walmart will also continue to allow concealed carry by customers with permits in its stores.

McMillon said Walmart's changes were prompted by the El Paso, Texas, shooting, as well as recent mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and Midland and Odessa, Texas.

The measured steps announced Tuesday are the latest changes Walmart has made to its gun policies in recent years as mass shootings continue in America.

Walmart attempted again to balance customers who own guns and are "part of our customer base" with safety in stores, Dan Bartlett, Walmart executive vice president of corporate affairs, said on a call with reporters.

"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," he said.

Walmart represents about 2% of the market for guns today, the company said for the first time recently. Walmart believes it is not among the top three gun sellers in the industry, but it estimates it has about a 20% market share of ammunition sales.

On Tuesday, McMillon said that Walmart's changes to ammunition policies will reduce its market share from around 20% to between 6% and 9%. "We believe it will likely drift toward the lower end of that range, over time, given the combination of these changes," he said.

McMillion, who said he was a gun owner himself, took pains to avoid alienating customers.

"We will treat law-abiding customers with respect, and we will have a very non-confrontational approach," he said. "Our remaining assortment will be even more focused on the needs of hunting and sport shooting enthusiasts."

In addition, McMillon said that he would send letters to the White House and congressional leaders that "call for action" on "common sense" gun safety measures. McMillon said Congress should debate re-authorizing the assault weapons ban and expand background checks.

"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."

Spurred by El Paso shooting

On August 3, a Walmart in El Paso was the scene of one of the worst mass shootings in American history. Federal investigators are treating the shooting as an act of domestic terrorism.

In the wake of the shooting, Walmart has faced enormous pressure to remove firearms from its physical stores and criticized for selling pro-gun T-shirts on its website. Several Democratic candidates for president have called on Walmart to stop selling guns at its stores. America's largest teachers' union, The American Federation of Teachers, and gun safety groups have pressed the retailer to end its gun sales.

Walmart previously pulled displays of violent video games in its stores and also removed about 1,000 third-party items from its website.

Despite its history of selling hunting weapons that goes back to Walmart's origins, Walmart has shifted its gun policies. It stopped selling assault rifles in 2015 and raised its minimum gun purchasing age to 21 last year after the Parkland, Florida, shooting. Walmart also stopped selling handguns in every state but Alaska in the mid-1990s and only sells a firearm to customers after receiving a "green light" on a background check.

"We understand that 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," McMillon said.

-- Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the date of the El Paso, Texas, shooting.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 68293

Reported Deaths: 1944
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5700119
DeSoto371031
Harrison260136
Madison245569
Jackson231444
Rankin230735
Jones193159
Forrest182656
Washington170142
Lee152142
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Lamar123115
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Oktibbeha113339
Warren112535
Lowndes109239
Panola106816
Sunflower105625
Scott101120
Lafayette98719
Copiah96228
Leflore94966
Pike94037
Holmes91049
Grenada85123
Pontotoc8429
Yazoo84113
Lincoln83442
Monroe82155
Simpson80631
Leake79526
Coahoma78113
Wayne78021
Tate74330
Marshall7129
Marion68420
Union66216
Adams63225
Winston62916
Covington62214
George5956
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Newton54511
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Attala52725
Walthall50221
Chickasaw47619
Noxubee46112
Tishomingo4377
Alcorn4355
Calhoun4259
Prentiss42310
Claiborne40914
Smith40613
Hancock40214
Clay40114
Jasper3949
Itawamba38710
Tippah37414
Tunica3587
Clarke33626
Montgomery3295
Lawrence3238
Yalobusha31610
Humphreys29712
Quitman2691
Carroll26111
Greene25612
Perry2428
Amite2376
Webster23712
Kemper23314
Jefferson Davis2336
Wilkinson21513
Stone2115
Sharkey2045
Jefferson1957
Benton1451
Choctaw1354
Franklin1312
Issaquena272
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 100801

Reported Deaths: 1814
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson13366246
Mobile10581212
Montgomery6825151
Madison546934
Tuscaloosa426979
Unassigned392566
Baldwin367029
Shelby333437
Marshall319438
Lee270847
Morgan241819
Etowah218034
DeKalb183414
Calhoun181918
Elmore176039
Walker154465
Houston142813
Russell13892
St. Clair136320
Limestone135913
Dallas133624
Franklin129722
Cullman123012
Colbert121517
Lauderdale119020
Autauga116222
Escambia108817
Talladega105414
Jackson10264
Tallapoosa87579
Chambers84738
Dale84329
Clarke82610
Chilton8189
Blount8165
Butler77036
Coffee7656
Covington74021
Pike7137
Marion58226
Barbour5796
Lowndes57124
Marengo56616
Hale48526
Bullock48111
Winston45711
Perry4454
Bibb4445
Washington44412
Wilcox43410
Monroe4236
Pickens4089
Randolph40211
Conecuh39310
Sumter36618
Lawrence3542
Macon33914
Crenshaw3326
Choctaw28912
Cherokee2768
Clay2675
Geneva2652
Henry2643
Greene25211
Lamar2302
Fayette2235
Cleburne1291
Coosa1053
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