Walmart is banning customers from openly carrying guns and is asking the White House to pursue new gun controls, Breitbart reports.
CNBC reports that Walmart will continue to allow permitted concealed carry inside its stores but will post signs announcing an end to open carry, even in states where open carry is legal.
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon used a memo to announce the open carry ban: “We believe the opportunity for someone to misinterpret a situation, even in open carry states, could lead to tragic results. We hope that everyone will understand the circumstances that led to this new policy and will respect the concerns of their fellow shoppers and our associates.”
- Walmart CEO Doug McMillon on Thursday called for a national debate on whether an assault weapons ban that Congress let expire in 2004 would be effective “in keeping weapons made for war out of the hands of mass murderers.”
- The retailer also released for the first time some of the data for its own gun sales: Walmart estimates it has a 2% share of the U.S. firearms market and 20% of ammunition sales.
- Walmart is declining calls for it to stop selling guns after recent shootings killed more than 20 people at two of its stores in Mississippi and Texas.
“In the national conversation around gun safety, we’re encouraged that broad support is emerging to strengthen background checks and to remove weapons from those who have been determined to pose an imminent danger. The re-authorization of the assault weapons ban should be debated to determine its effectiveness in keeping weapons made for war out of the hands of mass murderers.”
I continue to be amazed by the courage, resilience and caring of our
people. As it’s become clearer that the shooting in El Paso was motivated
by hate, we are more resolved than ever to foster an inclusive environment
where all people are valued and welcomed.
As we’ve shared previously, we will strive to use these experiences to
identify additional actions we can take to strengthen our processes,
improve our technology and create an even safer environment in our
stores. We’re also thinking through the broader issues related to gun
violence and things we should do to help create safer communities. We
would like for everyone to be reminded of the steps we’ve already taken:
• We stopped selling handguns in every state but Alaska in the mid90s.
• We stopped selling military-style rifles such as the AR-15 in 2015.
• We raised the age limit to purchase a firearm or ammunition to 21 in
• Walmart only sells a firearm after receiving a “green light” on a
background check, while federal law only requires the absence of a
“red light” after three business days. We don’t sell a firearm until we
receive a “green light” regardless of the time period.
• We videotape the point of sale for firearms, only allow certain
associates to sell firearms, and secure firearms in a locking case with
individual locks, among other measures.
We’ve attempted to take common sense steps that allow us to serve
customers and create a safer environment. We estimate that we represent
about 2 percent of the market for firearms today, which we believe places
us outside at least the top three sellers in the industry. We estimate we
have about a 20 percent share of ammunition.
In the national conversation around gun safety, we’re encouraged
that broad support is emerging to strengthen background checks and to
remove weapons from those who have been determined to pose an
imminent danger. We do not sell military-style rifles, and we believe the
reauthorization of the Assault Weapons ban should be debated to
determine its effectiveness in keeping weapons made for war out of the hands of mass murderers.
The company is also asking people to not openly carry guns in their stores, including Sam’s Clubs locations, even if the person is in an open-carry state.
“As it relates to safety in our stores, 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,” the statement says. “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. These incidents are concerning and we would like to avoid them, so we are respectfully requesting that customers no longer openly carry firearms into our stores or Sam’s Clubs in states where ‘open carry’ is permitted – unless they are authorized law enforcement officers.”
Over the last 15 years, Walmart had expanded beyond its hunting and fishing roots, carrying items like assault rifles in response to increasing demand. But particularly since 2015, often coinciding with major public mass shootings, the company has made moves to curb the sale of ammunition and guns.
In 2015, Walmart stopped selling semi-automatic weapons like the AR-15 style rifle, the type used in the Dayton shooting. The retailer also doesn’t sell large-capacity magazines, handguns (except in Alaska) or bump stocks, nor the AK-style firearm that was used by the El Paso shooter.
Full statement from CEO Doug McMillon:
In Southaven and El Paso, our associates responded to anger and hate with courage and self-sacrifice. Our immediate priorities were supporting our associates and the impacted families and cooperating with law enforcement. In parallel, we have been focused on store safety and security. We’ve also been listening to a lot of people inside and outside our company as we think about the role we can play in helping to make the country safer. It’s clear to us that the status quo is unacceptable.
After visiting El Paso on Aug. 6, I mentioned that we would be thoughtful and deliberate in our responses. We’re ready to share our next steps.
We’ve been giving a lot of thought to our sale of firearms and ammunition. We’ve previously made decisions to stop selling handguns or military-style rifles such as the AR-15, to raise the age limit to purchase a firearm or ammunition to 21, to require a “green light” on a background check while federal law only requires the absence of a “red light,” to videotape the point of sale for firearms and to only allow certain trained associates to sell firearms.
Today, we’re sharing the decisions we’ve made that go further:
• After selling through our current inventory commitments, we will discontinue sales of short-barrel rifle ammunition such as the .223 caliber and 5.56 caliber that, while commonly used in some hunting rifles, can also be used in large capacity clips on military-style weapons;
• We will sell through and discontinue handgun ammunition; and
• We will discontinue handgun sales in Alaska, marking our complete exit from handguns.
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. Our remaining assortment will be even more focused on the needs of hunting and sport shooting enthusiasts. It will include long barrel deer rifles and shotguns, much of the ammunition they require, as well as hunting and sporting accessories and apparel. We believe these actions will reduce our market share of ammunition from around 20% to a range of approximately 6 to 9%. We believe it will likely drift toward the lower end of that range, over time, given the combination of these changes.
As it relates to safety in our stores, 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. These incidents are concerning and we would like to avoid them, so we are respectfully requesting that customers no longer openly carry firearms into our stores or Sam’s Clubs in states where “open carry” is permitted – unless they are authorized law enforcement officers.
We believe the opportunity for someone to misinterpret a situation, even in open carry states, could lead to tragic results. We hope that everyone will understand the circumstances that led to this new policy and will respect the concerns of their fellow shoppers and our associates. As it relates to concealed carry by customers with permits, there is no change to our policy or approach. This morning, we briefed your leadership team on how to communicate this change in policy to customers when needed, and they will be sharing that with you very soon. We will treat law-abiding customers with respect, and we will have a very non-confrontational approach. Our priority is your safety. We will be providing new signage to help communicate this policy in the coming weeks.
As an additional step, we commit we will work alongside other retailers to make the overall industry safer, including sharing our best practices. For example, we are exploring ways to share the technical specifications and compliance controls for our proprietary firearms sales technology platform. This system navigates the tens of millions of possible combinations of federal, state and local laws, regulations and licensing requirements that come into effect based on where the firearm is being sold and who is purchasing it. We hope that providing this information, free of charge, will help more retailers sell firearms in a responsible, compliant manner.
Finally, we encourage our nation’s leaders to move forward and strengthen background checks and to remove weapons from those who have been determined to pose an imminent danger. We do not sell military-style rifles, and we believe the reauthorization of the Assault Weapons ban should be debated to determine its effectiveness. We must also do more, as a country, to understand the root causes that lead to this type of violent behavior. Today, I’m sending letters to the White House and the Congressional leadership that call for action on these common sense measures. As we’ve seen before, these horrific events occur and then the spotlight fades. We should not allow that to happen. Congress and the administration should act. Given our decades of experience selling firearms, we are also offering to serve as a resource in the national debate on responsible gun sales.
We have a long heritage as a company of serving responsible hunters and sportsmen and women, and we’re going to continue doing so. Our founder, Sam Walton, was an avid outdoorsman who had a passion for quail hunting, and we’re headquartered in a state known for its duck hunting and deer hunting. My family raised bird dogs when I was growing up in Jonesboro, Arkansas, and I’m a gun owner myself. We understand that heritage, our deeply rooted place in America and our influence as the world’s largest retailer. And we understand the responsibility that comes with it. We want what’s best for our customers, our associates and our communities. 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.
Following the expiration of the 1994-2004 “assault weapons” ban, the Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice released a report finding the ban did not reduce crime.
Chris “Badger” Thomas is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.
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