Walmart will no longer sell certain kinds of guns and ammunition in the wake of a renewed debate about gun control following several incidents of gun violence, including two that happened at Walmart locations, according to a letter CEO Doug McMillon wrote to associates. McMillon admitted that the move will inconvenience some customers and reduce the company’s market share when it comes to the sales of those products.
In a company-wide email, Walmart’s corporate leadership said that the stores will no longer sell short-barrel rifle ammunition such as the.223 caliber and 5.56 caliber, which are commonly used in some hunting rifles, but can also be used in large capacity clips on military-style weapons. Further, the company will no longer sell handgun ammunition, and indeed, had already stopped selling handgun ammunition everywhere except in Alaska; with this move, the company is now completely out of the handgun and handgun ammunition-selling business.
The company’s remaining gun and ammunition sales will focus on the needs of hunters and will only sell items such as long-barrel deer rifles and shotguns, and their ammunition, as well as other hunting accessories.
Similarly, the company has also asked that customers in states where it’s legal to openly carry a weapon will no longer do so inside Walmart stores.
McMillon acknowledge that the move will at once inconvenience some Walmart customers, as well as take a bite out of its market share when it comes to the sale of ammunition.
“We know these decisions will inconvenience some of our customers, and we hope they will understand. As a company, we experienced two horrific events in one week, and we will never be the same,” he wrote.
McMillion was referring to two events that took place within days of each other in early August. In the more well-publicized incident, which took place on August 3, a gunman opened fire at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, killing 22 people and injuring 24 others. The suspected shooter, Patrick Crucuis, has been linked to a manifesto published online that warned of an Hispanic “invasion.”
Days earlier, on July 30, a disgruntled employee allegedly opened fire at a Walmart location in Southaven, Mississippi. The alleged shooter, identified as Martez Tarrell Abram, 39, killed two co-workers and wounded a police officer.
Walmart was, at one time, one of the nation’s largest sellers of guns. However, beginning in 2006 the retailer began phasing out the number of and types of guns it sold, and at which stores they sold them. The big-box giant has also faced pressure to eliminate firearms and ammunition sales all together.