Walmart Stops Selling Handgun Ammunition and Ends Open Carry at Stores

Retailer Walmart has announced it will end some ammunition sales and ask its customers to not openly carry guns into its stores.

Walmart made the announcement on September 3. In a statement from Walmart CEO Doug McMillion, he said the company would “discontinue sales of short-barrel rifle ammunition such as the .223 caliber and 5.56 caliber,” as well as discontinue the sales of handgun ammunition. The company will also stop selling handguns in Alaska.

The announcement comes just a month after a gunman entered a Walmart in El Paso, injuring 24 people and killing 22 others. The incident was followed by another mass shooting less than 24 hours later in Dayton, Ohio, when a gunman shot and killed nine people and injured over two dozen others.

“Our immediate priorities were supporting our associates and the impacted families and cooperating with law enforcement,” McMillion said in a statement. “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.”

In his statement, McMillion said Walmart would be asking its customers, and Sam’s Club members, to no longer openly carry firearms in their stores. Despite this, the statement noted that the company’s current policy allowing customers to carry concealed weapons with a permit inside the stores will not change. McMillion also wrote that he will be working with other retailers to ensure a safer industry and has written a letter to the White House to act on common-sense gun laws to help prevent future mass shootings.

“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,” McMillion’s statement read.

“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.”

Following the news, the National Rifle Association (NRA) slammed Walmart’s policy change, saying it was “shameful to see Walmart succumb to the pressure of the anti-gun elites.”

“Lines at Walmart will soon be replaced by lines at other retailers who are more supportive of America’s fundamental freedoms. The truth is Walmart’s actions today will not make us any safer,” a statement from the NRA read. “Rather than place the blame on the criminal, Walmart has chosen to victimize law-abiding Americans. Our leaders must be willing to approach the problems of crime, violence and mental health with sincerity and honesty."

Walmart’s policy change comes just a few days after a gunman opened fire on the streets of Odessa, Texas, killing seven civilians and injuring 22 others, CNN reported. The shooter, 36-year-old Seth Ator, was fired from his job at a trucking company a few hours before the killing spree.

Just before the shooting on August 31, Texas troopers in Midland pulled over Ator after he failed to use his signal, police said. He subsequently shot at the officers with an AR-style rifle and fled while randomly shooting at residents and other drivers on the road. Ator then stole a postal truck and continued shooting at people during an approximately 20-mile drive to Odessa, Texas, according to the news station. Authorities caught up to him in a movie theater parking lot, where he was shot and killed during a shootout.

Before Walmart’s policy change, four Democratic presidential candidates called on Walmart to stop selling guns in its stores. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and former housing secretary Julián Castro all called for the retailer to stop selling firearms following the mass shooting in El Paso, The New York Times previously reported.

“The weapons they sell are killing their own customers and employees,” Warren previously tweeted. “No profit is worth those lives. Do the right thing — stop selling guns.”

“Walmart should use its power to stop selling guns in its stores until politicians and gun manufacturers get their act together and raise the standard for gun ownership in this country,” Booker previously wrote on Twitter.

About the Author

Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.