The decision, which targets ammunition for semi-automatic weapons, comes a month after a shooting in a company store in El Paso, Texas.
Under pressure after a deadly shooting in one of its stores in Texas last month and in response to the increase in mass killings in the United States, distribution giant Walmart announced on Tuesday, September 3, that it would stop the sale of ammunition for semi-automatic weapons.
In a statement, group leader Doug McMillon called the status quo on gun control “unacceptable” and called on Congress and the White House to take “common sense” measures, including strengthening background checks on gun buyers.
This decision comes a month after a shooting in a Walmart supermarket in El Paso, Texas, which killed 22 people. Another shooting took place last Saturday in this southern state of the country, in the city of Odessa, with a death toll of seven.
Doug McMillon said that Walmart, the world’s leading retailer, would stop selling ammunition for semi-automatic assault rifles using 5.56 caliber ammunition (or its equivalent.223) once current stocks were depleted.
These AR-15 type weapons are extremely widespread in the United States, where they are also used by many hunters, many of whom are equipped in Walmart stores, renowned for their low prices and known as places of socialization for part of rural America.
The head of the supermarket giant said the group’s share of the US ammunition market, which now stands at around 20%, is expected to fall from 6% to 9%.
The NRA, the powerful pro-weapons lobby, reacted to the group’s decision by saying it was regrettable that Walmart « succumbed to the pressure of the anti-war elites ». « Walmart queues will soon be replaced by queues in other stores, which more actively support American fundamental freedoms ».
However, several Democratic candidates for the 2020 presidential elections supported the new measures and called for further action. Survey favourite Joe Biden and Texas elected official Beto O’Rourke called for legislation to allow background checks for all citizens. Senator Elizabeth Warren said that Walmart « can and must do more. »
President Donald Trump, a long-time NRA companion, but who had said he was in favour of “common sense” reforms in early August, had so far failed to react.
The largest private employer in the United States with 1.5 million employees claimed in the United States and one of the country’s largest arms sellers, Walmart had already taken steps to limit the purchase of firearms before Tuesday’s announcement.
After the carnage at Parkland High School in Parkland, Florida, which killed 17 people in February 2018, the group decided, along with sports retailer Dick’s Sporting Goods and supermarket giant Kroger, to raise the age for buying guns to 21. Walmart had also stopped selling assault rifles by 2015.