Walmart will no longer sell ammunition for military-grade weapons and handguns, the corporation announced Tuesday.
The decision comes nearly a month after a white nationalist, armed with an AR-style rifle, opened fire on a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, leaving 22 people dead. Over the weekend, there was another shooting at a Walmart, this time in Hobart, Indiana, that left one person injured.
In addition to halting sales of certain types of ammo, Walmart is asking its customers to refrain from openly carrying their firearms— even in the 26 states where open carry is legal.
After the El Paso shooting, white collar Walmart employees from corporate and e-commerce offices in San Bruno, California, Portland, Oregon and New York staged walkouts to pressure the company to halt sales of firearms and ammunition. An employee in California also started a petition, which gained 50,000 signatures in the first few days.
"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 CEO Doug McMillon said in a memo to employees. "It's clear to us that the status quo is unacceptable."
Walmart’s new policies stop short of ending firearm sales altogether. The company will continue to sell shotguns, long-barrel deer rifles and ammunition for those types of guns. Customers with concealed carry licenses will still be able to bring their guns to Walmart — as long as they’re hidden.
"We feel like we are striking a responsible balance between the interests of law-abiding citizens who are exercising their legal rights and the safety concerns of our associates and customers," Dan Bartlett, vice president of Walmart’s corporate affairs, told reporters during a press call on Tuesday.
In 2015, Walmart stopped selling AR-15s and similar semi-automatic weapons, but said that was in response to sluggish sales rather than public scrutiny. The company currently represents about 2% of the firearms market.
Cover: A Walmart employee attends a community memorial service for the 22 victims of the mass shooting at Southwest University Park in El Paso, Texas on August 14, 2019. (Photo: PAUL RATJE/AFP/Getty Images)