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After El Paso Shooting, Walmart Will Stop Selling Ammunition and Allowing Open Carry

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After El Paso Shooting, Walmart Will Stop Selling Ammunition and Allowing Open Carry

2019-09-04 10:45:231 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Walmart sign (Image source: MikeMozartJeepersMedia via Wikimedia Commons)



While Donald Trump and lawmakers are still hesitant to make necessary changes to gun laws to keep the country safer, others, such as Walmart, are willing to make changes.  

Just in case that wasn't enough of a sign that leaders should do something, the gunman in the more recent shooting had been banned from buying guns because he was mentally unfit, and authorities are looking into whether he had purchased his gun from a private sale to avoid a background check.


Walmart set itself up as a sporting good outlet and was known for being very gun-oriented, to the point of inviting gun owners in states that allow open carry to bring their guns into the store. But big changes are being made as to what will be allowed. 

These changes come one month after a gunman entered an El Paso Walmart and opened fire. By the end of his carnage, he had taken 31 lives. Police believe he is behind a manifesto that was published just before the shooting, targeting immigrants.


That's what made it obvious that open carry is not a deterrent and also does not solve the situation. As a Texan, the shooter likely knew it was open carry and that Walmart would allow it. That was not a deterrent to him. Nor were any of the people in the store who were carrying their weapons able to stop him.  

Walmart announced on Tuesday that while they won't stop selling all ammunition, they will discontinue selling handgun ammunition and "short-barrel rifle ammunition," including .223 and 4.56 caliber that can also be used in assault-style weapons.


Additionally, they will stop selling handguns in Alaska, the only state where the stores were still allowed to sell handguns. They will also request that customers no longer openly carry guns into Walmart or Sam's Club stores that allow the practice.  

However, they will still sell long-barrel deer rifles and shotguns and ammunition for those guns. Oddly, they will also continue to allow those with concealed carry permits to do so.


"It's clear to us that the status quo is unacceptable," sad Walmart CEO Doug McMillon in an in-house memo. 

Walmart executive vice president of corporate affairs, Dan Bartlett, said on a call with reporters, that the company is trying to balance the gunowners who are "part of our customer base" with safety in stores.


"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 explained.  

At the same time, they bear a responsibility to what's going on, as while they only represent 2 percent of the market for guns, they estimate they sell 20 percent of the total ammunition that is sold.


With the changes to the ammunition sales policies, McMillion said it will reduce the market share to between 6 and 9 percent.  

"We believe it will likely drift toward the lower end of that range, over time, given the combination of these changes," he said.


"We will treat law-abiding customers with respect, and will have a very non-confrontational approach," added McMillon, a gun owner himself.  

"Our remaining assortment will be even more focused on the needs of hunting and sport-shooting enthusiasts."


At the same time, he is also vowing to write to the White House and congressional leaders to call for "common sense" gun safety measures.  

"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." 

But it seems there is more that needs to be done than background checks, as the most recent shooter showed there is a way to beat the system.


The gunman who killed seven this weekend shooting up two separate Texas towns had tried to buy a gun in January 2014 but failed because the background check flagged a mental health determination by a local court, according to officials. 

He used an AR-15-style rifle in this weekend's shootings, and it's been suggested that it was bought at a private sale.


This adds to the conversation behind Donald Trump's insistence that more comprehensive background checks would solve everything. This shows it would not, as there are ways under the current situation to skirt the law. 

But until lawmakers and the president are willing to get on board with laws that will prevent these shootings, maybe companies that somehow take part in gun ownership, such as Walmart, need to step up and do their part, most likely avoiding what are certain to be calls from NRA head Wayne LaPierre pleading the case for no changes to the gun laws.

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