WalMart Halts Rifle Sales In Wake Of Virginia Shooting

Walmart, the nation’s largest gun and ammo retailer, says that it will halt sales of rifles in wake of the Virginia shooting. The retailer says that the recent decision was a business move, not a political move. Walmart is planning to halt the sales of assault rifles, semi-automatic guns, and other types of firearms used in mass shootings.

The retail giant plans to halt sales of some of its rifles in the fall, when they restock their stores with the new merchandise. Walmart claims that their decision to halt the sales of rifles was not a response to Wednesday’s deadly shooting during a live news broadcast in Virginia, or to gun violence advocates. The company claims that they would stop the sales of certain assault rifles for their own business reasons.

“We previously carried modern sporting rifles in less than a third of our stores,” spokesperson Kory Lundberg told Forbes. “Our merchandising decisions are driven largely by customer demand. In our everyday course of doing business, we are continually reviewing and adjusting our product assortment to meet our customers’ needs.”

He insists that Walmart’s swift move to halt sales of rifles in their nation-wide stores is just a coincidence with the time of recent events.

“This happens to get more attention because of what the product is. The decision was completely based on what customers are buying and what they want.”

Walmart plans to stop stocking AR-15s and modern sporting rifles. They also have plans to discontinue the sales of modular sniper rifles (MSRs) in the next one to two weeks. The retail chain also halted sales on handguns and high-capacity magazines. However, they plan to replace these rifles with shotguns and hunting weaponry.

The company says that they will continue to sell rifles as long as their customers are buying them from their stores. The only difference is that they will sell rifles and weaponry that’s geared towards hunters and animal trappers.

This isn’t the first time that Walmart has made the decision to halt the sales of certain rifles. They previously halted gun sales during a state of emergency that took place in Pasco County, Florida, on Saturday, Aug. 2. Walmart’s official spokesperson, Aaron Mullins, confirmed that the company didn’t want stores in that area to sell guns and ammo during the severe rains and flooding.

“A county official reached out to the store and said they weren’t allowed to sell firearms or ammo. The store did not give the person’s name, but said they were contacted by a country official Saturday.”

The firearm and ammo ban remained in effect all weekend long, and was active as of Monday morning. However, other gun and ammo dealers in that county were not aware of the gun sales ban.

According to Lundberg, the semi-automatic guns were sold at fewer than a third of the 4,600 Walmart locations in the U.S.

[Image: Joe Raedle/Getty Images]

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