A Texas gun rights group claims many of its 38,000 members have openly carried their weapons in different Walmart locations in the last week without any problems, despite the corporation’s new policy “respectfully requesting” customers to leave their firearms at home.
Open Carry Texas’ Vice President, David Amad, told the New York Times that he thinks Walmart’s policy was just lip service to the gun control lobby. “They are ducking the issue,” Amad told the Times. “They are trying to get the gun haters to leave them alone.”
The historically gun-friendly corporation announced its new policy on Sept. 3, almost exactly a month after a white nationalist armed with an AR-style rifle opened fire on a Walmart in El Paso, leaving 22 people dead. They also curtailed the sale of most ammo.
Other major chains followed suit: Since Walmart’s announcement, Kroger, CVS, Walgreens and Wegmans also issued statements asking customers to refrain from openly carrying their guns in stores, even if it’s in one of the 26 states where open carry is legal.
Walmart’s decision came after gun control groups pressured the company and some of its own white-collar employees staged walkouts and organized petitions following the El Paso shooting. The corporation received positive press from gun control groups.
But Open Carry Texas’ experiment suggests that their new open carry policy is largely toothless.
When Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon announced the policy, he said that the ultimate goal was to take a “non-confrontational approach” toward customers.
“We will treat law-abiding customers with respect,” Walmart spokesperson Kory Lundberg told VICE News last week. “Our first priority is safety. We will be providing new signage to help communicate this policy in the coming weeks.”
Neither Walmart nor Open Carry Texas responded to VICE News’ requests for comment for this story.
Cover: This Nov. 9, 2018, file photo shows a Walmart Supercenter in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)