Emma Pardo, News Editor
Walmart has announced it will discontinue their stock for handgun ammunition after mass shootings covered in the media. With this announcement, the company also encourages customers to refrain from open carry in their stores, even if their state laws allow it.
After the reported mass shootings last month, one of them taking place in a Walmart, the stores claim they will not restock any handgun or short barrel ammunition after their current stock has sold out. Other states stores, like Alaska, have chosen to discontinue handguns as a whole and focus more on hunting rifles and the related ammunition.
Texas became an open carry state in 2016. Last month in El Paso, Texas, a disgruntled former Walmart employee entered the store and opened fire on civilians as well as workers. This action killed 22 people as well as affected many families with the loss of loved ones and mental trauma from being a witness to the crime.
In regards to this tragic Walmart massacre, the stores have also requested that there should be a removal of any video game signs or images that display violent behavior. This fell short after the pressure that gun control activists put on Walmart to create a new gun policy in their stores, pushing that the removal of signs was not enough. This forced the stores to drop handgun ammunition and short-barrel ammunition from their inventory.
While handgun ammunition is being dropped and hunting rifles and their related ammo have become the focus of firearm sales, Walmart has their hands tied when it comes to stores located in rural areas where the population has more gun enthusiasts than it does activists, where the stores are their way of attaining weapons and ammo.
This is not the first changing policy that the company has when it comes to firearms. In the mid 1990s the company stopped selling handguns with the exception of Alaska locations. Policy changed again when Walmart first expanded their outdoors area regarding hunting and fishing equipment when they chose to sell assault rifles due to increasing demand back in 2015.
Since then they have changed their policy to not sell any firearms and ammunition to anyone under the age of 21. This also led to the removal of assault-like rifles from their website. This change was made in February 2018 following the Parkland, Florida school shooting that killed 17 people.
The company hopes to use its vast popularity as weight to encourage other retailers to follow after their practices and create a safer environment all around the United States to avoid these unfortunate events from happening ever again.