In the aftermath of a deadly mass shooting incident at an El Paso, Texas Walmart store that left 22 dead and many more injured, the company’s CEO shared his thoughts and how the mega-retailer would respond.
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon thanked his employees and first responders for saving the lives of shoppers during the El Paso massacre and another shooting that recently happened in Southhaven, Mississippi.
“We will be thoughtful and deliberate in our responses,” McMillon wrote in a LinkedIn post on Tuesday evening.
“We will work to understand the many important issues that arise from El Paso and Southaven, as well as those that have been raised in the broader national discussion around gun violence,” he added.
McMillon failed to address a growing demand from gun control advocates that Walmart drastically changes its procedures for selling firearms or ban firearms sales altogether.
According to CNN, Walmart is currently one of the nation’s largest retailers of ammunition and firearms in the United States.
The company has a history of taking measures to change its firearms policy. They stopped all sales of assault-style rifles in 2015 and only stores in one state — Alaska — are still allowed to sell handguns.
In 2018, the company stopped all sales of firearms to customers under the age of 21 — a policy enacted after the devastating Parkland, Florida shooting.
The managing director of retail consultant Strategic Resources Group, Burt Flickinger III, recently told CNN that banning firearms sales could be a smart financial move for the large retailer.
Flickinger pointed to a decline in gun and ammo sales and compared that to the rise in toy sales, which he said Walmart could increase with the added inventory space if they nix firearms sales.
“Guns and ammo were important to Walmart in the 20th century, maybe the first decade of this one,” he said.
“But it’s declining while other segments like toys and pets are growing. This is the biggest opportunity for the company in the last 25 years.”
However, according to Walmart spokesperson Randy Hargrove, the big-box retailer has no immediate plans to stop selling guns and ammunition. He also expressed sympathy for those who lost their loved ones in the El Paso mass shooting event.
“At this time, our policies remain in place,” he said.
“We continue to be devastated by the loss of lives, and right now our focus is on supporting our associates, our customers and the El Paso community.”
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon writes letter to employees addressing two deadly shootings that occurred at its stores in less than a week, promising a "thoughtful and deliberate" response from the company. https://t.co/f9SqPfI8oU
— ABC News (@ABC) August 7, 2019
McMillon didn’t offer details of what he said will be a “thoughtful and deliberate” response in the LinkedIn post.
Walmart is one of the last big-box retailers to continue sell firearms, only competing against Dick’s Sporting Goods, Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops, and localized gun stores.