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Walmart Ceases Sales Of Handgun Ammunition And Discourages Open Carry

On August 3, a shooter entered an El Paso, Texas Walmart with an assault rifle and killed 22 people. Three days prior, The Clarion Ledger reported that a Walmart location in Southaven, Mississippi became the scene of a different incident where a Walmart employee fatally shot two others.

In the time since these tragedies, Walmart has faced public outcry regarding the corporate decision to continue selling guns and ammunition despite the fact that their workers and customers have experienced the horrors of gun violence firsthand.

For a time, Walmart kept relatively quiet about this backlash, but it's hard not to see the company's latest decision as a response to it.

A memo from Walmart CEO Doug McMillon has just confirmed that Walmart will no longer sell certain types of ammunition.

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As AP News reported, this policy change affects handgun ammunition, but also applies to short barrel rifle ammunition intended for guns like the ones pictured here.

Once Walmart sells what remains of their current inventory, customers will no longer see ammo types such as .223 caliber and 5.56 caliber rounds in these stores.

Although most Walmart locations stopped selling handguns during the 1990s, these products were still available in Alaska.

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Now, Walmart is also discontinuing this exception and no handguns will be sold in any of their stores across the nation.

AP News also reported that Walmart had previously stopped selling semi-automatic rifles such as AR-15s in 2015.

This does not, however, suggest that Walmart will stop selling firearms altogether.

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As Business Insider reported, McMillon said that Walmart will continue to serve the needs of "responsible hunters, sportsmen and women."

This effectively means that hunting rifles, shotguns, and the relevant ammunition will remain available.

As he wrote, "My family raised bird dogs when I was growing up in Jonesboro, Arkansas, and I'm a gun owner myself."

This emphasis on responsibility has also extended to a "respectful request" by McMillon for customers not to openly carry firearms in their stores in states where it's legal to do so.

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As McMillon wrote,

There have been multiple incidents since El Paso where individuals attempting to make a statement and test our response have entered our stores carrying weapons in a way that frightened or concerned our associates and customers. We have also had well-intentioned customers acting lawfully that have inadvertently caused a store to be evacuated and local law enforcement to be called to respond.

Although he promised this will be handled non-confrontationally with respect to law-abiding customers, open carrying is definitely discouraged at Walmart now. Authorized law enforcement officers will be exempt from this policy.

This policy change followed a corporate decision to remove violent video game displays and signs from stores, but critics saw this as ignoring the root of the problem.

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And so, in addition to the new measures outlined above, Walmart will also send letters to the White House and Congress calling for debate that may lead to re-instituting an assault weapons ban and other measures to control the flow of guns.

As McMillon wrote, "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. The status quo is unacceptable."

h/t: AP News, Business Insider