BREAKING: Walmart to stop selling handgun ammo, will ban open-carry even where allowed by law

Lee’s note: This just in from the Associated Press.

NEW YORK (AP) — Walmart says it will discontinue the sale of handgun ammunition and also publicly request that customers refrain from openly carrying firearms in stores even where state laws allow it.

The announcement comes just days after a mass shooting claimed seven lives in Odessa, Texas and follows two other back-to-back shootings last month, one of them at a Walmart store.

The Bentonville, Arkansas-based discounter said Tuesday it will stop selling short-barrel and handgun ammunition after it runs out of its current inventory. It will also discontinue handgun sales in Alaska, marking its complete exit from handguns and allowing it to focus on hunting rifles and related ammunition only.

“We have a long heritage as a company of serving responsible hunters and sportsmen and women, and we’re going to continue doing so,” according to a memo by Walmart’s CEO Doug McMillon that will be circulated to employees Tuesday afternoon.

Walmart is further requesting that customers refrain from openly carrying firearms at its stores unless they are law enforcement officers. Last month, a gunman entered a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas and killed 22 people using an AK-style firearm that Walmart already bans the sale of. Texas became an open carry state in 2016, allowing people to openly carry firearms in public.

Walmart’s moves will reduce its market share of ammunition from around 20% to a range of about 6% to 9%, according to Tuesday’s memo. About half of its more than 4,000 U.S. stores sell firearms.

The nation’s largest retailer has been facing increasing pressure to change its gun policies by gun control activists, employees and politicians after the El Paso shooting and a second unrelated shooting in Dayton, Ohio that killed nine people. A few days before that, two Walmart workers were killed by another worker at a store in Southaven, Mississippi.

In the aftermath of the El Paso shooting, Walmart ordered workers to remove video game signs and displays that depict violence from stores nationwide. But that fell well short of demands for the retailer to stop selling firearms entirely. Critics have also wanted Walmart to stop supporting politicians backed by the National Rifle Association.

The retailer has long found itself in an awkward spot with its customers and gun enthusiasts. Many of its stores are located in rural areas where hunters are depend on Walmart to get their equipment. Walmart is trying to walk a fine line by trying to embrace its hunting heritage while being a more responsible retailer.

With its new policy on “open carry,” McMillon noted in his memo that individuals have tried to make a statement by carrying weapons into its stores just to frighten workers and customers. But there are well-intentioned customers acting lawfully who have also inadvertently caused a store to be evacuated and local law enforcement to be called to respond.

He says Walmart will continue to treat “law-abiding customers with respect” and it will have a “non-confrontational approach.”

Walmart says it hopes to use its weight to help other retailers by sharing its best practices like software that it uses for background checks. And the company, which in 2015 stopped selling assault rifles like the AR-rifles used in several mass shootings, urged more debate on the reauthorization of the assault weapons ban. McMillon says Walmart will send letters to the White House and the Congressional leadership that calls for action on these “common sense” measures.

“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,” McMillon wrote in his memo. “The status quo is unacceptable.”

Over the last 15 years, Walmart had expanded beyond its hunting and fishing roots, carrying items like assault rifles in response to increasing demand. But particularly since 2015, often coinciding with major public mass shootings, the company has made moves to curb the sale of ammunition and guns.

Walmart announced in February 2018 that it would no longer sell firearms and ammunition to people younger than 21 and also removed items resembling assault-style rifles from its website. Those moves were prompted by the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people.

In 2015, Walmart stopped selling semi-automatic weapons like the AR-15 style rifle, the type used in the Dayton shooting. The retailer also doesn’t sell large-capacity magazines, handguns (except in Alaska) or bump stocks, nor the AK-style firearm that was used by the El Paso shooter.

In the mid-1990s, Walmart stopped selling handguns with the exception of Alaska.

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About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.

13 Comments

  1. Randolph Angeles on

    Well just as with dicks sporting goods I will not be shopping at Walmart and will encourage friends and family to do the same.

  2. Thomas Dale Cooper on

    Will not shop at Walmart anymore I will encourage others not to or any other store that opposes a normal human being carrying a gun to protect himself from enemies and governments and Walmart or any affiliation that does not any affiliation that does not support the NRA

  3. If you do this Wal-Mart. I will never spend another cent in any of your stores. I know thousands if not in the MILLIONS. OF FOLKS WILL BE DOING THE SAME THING..STOP PUNISHING ALL THE LAW ABIDING CITIZENS IN THIS COUNTRY BECAUSE OF A SMALL HAND FULL OF. MINTLE I’LL PEOPLE OUT THERE. THIS IS THE DUMBEST THING YOU CAN DO. PS. I SPEND IN THE THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS IN YOYR STORES. NOT ANY MORE IF YOU DO THIS.

  4. Socialists will put pressure on industry and commerce to discriminate against armed citizens, firs t and second amendment and eventually the bill of rights until the constitution will be considered old fashioned. They will then tell us that they have the ideas for a perfect world- they will it have been controlling what is taught to children at all levels of education, you have to control the thoughts, the arts, the readings of certain books, etc. Eventually when the government becomes perverse enough they will know who has weapons and they will take those and smash offensive things in one crystal night, who will oppose them, who’s has guns and ammo?

    When the government makes your religion or point of view illegal and offensive who will stop perverse acts of government. Why is it that sick people are not blamed for their acts of violence, but I am, a child of immigrants, soldier, veteran, contributor to our society , some how getting rid of mechanical devices will stop the evil in the hearts of men. I will apologize to my children that the Cuba we ran away from has followed here and they one day they will have to grab a suitcase or two and runaway to a country of laws and God given rights- a slippery slope from which here is no recovery – sad. I will curtail my purchases at Walmart- I’m afraid that they won’t be effected by it but at least – I’ll feel better.

    I feel sad that there is a move to handle these shootings with a great deal of ignorance and lack of logic. It’s easy to put the blame on industries or ideas when you are a demagogue. We need solutions not stupidity from politicians- we need to protect the only treasure this nation has- Out history – good and bad and our Constitution.

  5. Guess Walmart wants to go the way of Dick’s. Knee jerk overreacting! Explain the logic of the handgun ammo. Why not just stop selling all hunting/ammo gear? That way there’ll be more floorspace for seasonal stuff. Almost time to put out the Christmas stuff and hide the outdoor gardening/yardwork stuff. Even though people still use much of it through the fall. Dumbasses!

  6. well I wonder how many other people like me spend $300.00-$500.00+ a month will be like me if asked not to open carry in the store will decide their money is good at other stores like Grocery Outlet or Safeway and stop shopping Wal Mart ?. Wonder how long before Wal Mart does like K Mart and Sears and closes their doors ? Old man Walton will turn over in his grave over this stupidity !

  7. I have open carried in walmart more times than I can count , if you carry to get attention you will get attention ,, if you jus carry and go about you business like its not there ,, no one gives a shit ,,,

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