Following the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, Walmart announced Tuesday that it would end handgun sales, and discontinue sales on numerous types of ammunition.
Furthermore, the company asked its customers not to carry firearms in its stores, even in the states where it is legal. Walmart will continue selling shotguns and rifles.
In a letter addressed to the Walmart employees, CEO Doug McMillon announced the new rules stating the status quo is no longer acceptable.
McMillon admitted the new measures could cause inconvenience for some of Walmart's customers. However, in the light of the recent mass shootings, he hoped people would show understanding.
Walmart was responsible for 2% of firearm sales nationwide and 20% of ammunition sales, McMillon added. As a result of the new policy, McMillon expects that the company's share of ammunition sales would drop to between 6% and 9 %.
That is not the first time when Walmart takes measures to combat gun violence in the United States. In 2015, the firm announced it would stop selling AR-15 and some other semi-automatic rifles. In February 2018, after the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, Walmart was among the pioneering chains to increase the minimum age to purchase firearms to 21.
Besides, Walmart also requires background checks to purchase a gun. The firm also stopped selling toys looking like assault rifles, including air-soft guns.
Next to its internal policy amendments, Walmart also encourages politicians to take measures to strengthen background checks for firearm purchases.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) criticized Walmart for taking the side of the anti-gun elites, infringing one of America's fundamental freedoms.
March For Our Lives, the organization of the survivors and families of the victims of the shooting in Parkland, Florida, publicly thanked Walmart for its decision. Several Democratic presidential candidates, among which Bernie Sanders, Beto O'Rourke and Julian Castro also praised Walmart's position.
At the same time, Congress has not taken yet any significant measures to tackle mass shootings. President Trump passingly mentioned the possibility of expanding background checks after the latest mass shootings a month ago, but he did not elaborate further on the topic.
Instead, he moved the focus towards the link between mental illness and mass shootings. He has not proposed any substantive measures in that direction yet.
What do you think? Do you support or oppose Walmart's decision to bar shoppers from carrying guns in its stores?