Walmart announces gun crackdown
Walmart has announced it will stop selling certain types of ammunition in response to the El Paso shooting.
The company, America's largest retailer, said it would stop selling handgun ammunition and "short-barrel rifle ammunition", such as the .223 calibre and 5.56 calibre.
It will also stop selling handguns in Alaska, the only state where the company still sells handguns.
Walmart will also request that customers no longer carry guns into its 4700 US stores in states that allow open carry.
The move comes just one month after the Texas shooting that killed 22 people and injured at least 27 others at a Walmart store in El Paso.
The company had stopped selling the type of assault-style rifled used in the shooting several years ago, but Walmart has now gone one step further.
"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," Walmart chief executive Doug McMillon said in a statement. "It's clear to us that the status quo is unacceptable."
Mr McMillon said the changes were not only prompted by the El Paso shooting but also the recent mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio and Midland and Odessa, Texas.
Many high-profile gun reform figures have praised Walmart's move, calling it "brave" and "a good step".
Among them were 2020 Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Beto O'Rourke.
I applaud the brave Walmart workers who called on the company to stop selling guns. This is a good step, but we still have a gun violence crisis. Mitch McConnell must stop his cowardice, stand up to the NRA and allow Congress to pass common sense gun safety legislation. https://t.co/zC0mZqKdtq— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) September 3, 2019
This decision shows Americans are demanding leaders act to be keep us safe from gun violence. We applaud #Walmart for taking another significant step forward. Open carry is dangerous, and we’re grateful Walmart — one of the largest companies in America — agrees.— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) September 3, 2019
This is a step in the right direction—and I'm grateful Walmart has taken action—but we can't rely on corporations to stop gun violence. We need universal background checks, we need red flag laws, and we need to buy back every single assault weapon. https://t.co/m8fr3qzZcx— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) September 3, 2019
The National Rifle Association, America's largest gun lobby, released a statement slamming Walmart's new policy as "shameful".
"It is 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 statement said.
"The truth is Walmart's actions today will not make us any safer. Rather than place the blame on the criminal, Walmart has chosen to victimise law-abiding Americans," the NRA added. "Our leaders must be willing to approach the problems of crime, violence and mental health with sincerity and honesty."
Walmart stopped selling assault-style rifles in 2015 and raised the age to purchase guns from 18 to 21 last year.