In the wake of a rash of mass shootings that have left the country reeling, Walmart will stop selling certain forms of ammunition, ask customers to no longer openly carry guns in their stores, and call on President Trump and other lawmakers to pass background checks legislation.
The nation’s largest retailer, which previously stopped selling handguns, will now stop selling handgun ammunition as well. And it will no longer make available the types of bullets that while used in hunting rifles can also be fired by military-style weapons.
And in the more than two dozen states with open carry laws, Walmart is “respectfully requesting that customers no longer openly carry firearms into our stores and Sams Clubs…unless they are authorized law enforcement officers,” said Dan Bartlett, executive vice president of corporate affairs.
That action follows “multiple cases” in which people entered their stores with visible weapons, upsetting customers and employees, Barlett said.
Walmart has been the focus of a campaign by gun control activists and others to pressure it to stop selling guns and take other actions in the wake of a wave of mass shootings, including one at a Walmart in El Paso last month that left 22 people dead.
By asking customers not to openly carry weapons in its stores, Walmart will join other retailers such as Starbucks that have implemented similar policies. Walmart will post signs to inform customers of the changes, and train employees in the coming weeks.
“We just hope that customers will understand the rationale behind this that it is not an attempt to question their legal rights,” Bartlett said. “It’s certainly just about the experience we’ve had in our own stores that have put too many customers, too many associates in a place of extreme discomfort …. We’ve had multiple cases of evacuations because of this.”
Tens of thousands signed a petition on Change.org. And a coalition that included Guns Down America, MoveOn, and the American Federation of Teachers planned rallies at Walmart stores and launched a #Walmartmustact challenge to encourage the public to deliver letters to store managers asking the store chain to stop supporting NRA-backed politicians and support gun buybacks, in addition to halting gun sales.
A Walmart in El Paso, Texas, was the site of one of two mass shootings the weekend of Aug. 3 that together left 31 people dead and dozens more injured. Days earlier, two Walmart managers were killed by a gunman described as a disgruntled employee in a store in Southaven, Mississippi.
This story is developing