American superstore Walmart has announced it will be banning shoppers from openly carrying guns in its stores.
The shop will also be ending the sale of some types of ammunition, in response to two deadly shootings which took place at two of its stores.
The news was shared to employees in a memo from Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, who said the company is also planning to stop the sale of handguns in stores in Alaska – the only state where Walmart sells handguns, as well as stopping selling ammunition for all handguns nationwide.
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.
Recent shootings at Walmart stores – one in El Paso, Texas, and one Southaven, Mississippi – saw 24 people killed by gunmen.
McMillon added, via INSIDER:
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.
Before now, McMillon revealed Walmart is responsible for two percent of firearms sales in the US, and 20 percent of all ammunition sold in the country. The CEO is expecting ammunition sales to drop to between six and nine percent after the new changes.
The company will, however, continue to sell the shotguns and rifles it currently carries in stores.
We are trying to take constructive steps to reduce the risk that events like these will happen again.
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.
As well as the two deadly shootings, McMillon said the new decision comes after a number of incidents in which stores were evacuated because of customers openly carrying guns.
The CEO said:
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.
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.
The new measures in Walmart will be effective immediately.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.