In response to two deadly shootings at its stores, Walmart is barring shoppers from openly carrying guns in its stores and ending the sale of some types of ammunition, the company said on Tuesday.
“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,” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in a memo to employees on Tuesday.
WalMart will also discontinue handgun sales in Alaska and stop selling ammunition for all handguns nationwide.
Walmart stopped selling handguns in the mid-1990s, with the exception of Alaska. The latest move marks its complete exit from that business and allows it to focus on hunting rifles and related ammunition only.
“We know these decisions will inconvenience some of our customers, and we hope they will understand,” McMillon said. “As a company, we experienced two horrific events in one week, and we will never be the same.”
McMillon said he would send letters to the White House and the Congressional leadership, urging the government to strengthen background checks and to remove weapons from those who could pose an imminent danger to others.
“As we’ve seen before, these horrific events occur and then the spotlight fades. We should not allow this to happen. Given our decades of experience selling firearms, we are also offering to serve as a resource in the national debate on responsible gun sales,” he said.
This announcement comes just days after a mass shooting claimed seven lives in Odessa, Texas and follows two other back-to-back shootings last month, one of them at a Walmart store where 22 people were killed.