On July 22, Wal-Mart stores in New Mexico will cease all firearms sales in the state due to new gun laws that went into effect in July requiring background checks on sales of nearly all firearms.
Tiffany Wilson, director of communications for Wal-Mart Stores Inc., said “the new law would require Walmart associates to handle and potentially store handguns and modern sporting rifles, which are types of firearms that Walmart does not sell and associates are not trained to handle or render safe,” according to a local news report.
She noted that Wal-Mart outlets in New Mexico cater “to hunters and sporting clay enthusiasts” and do “not sell modern sporting rifles such as the AR-15.”
Also, Wal-Mart is not currently equipped or designed to conduct background checks for private-party transfers under New Mexico’s new firearms law.
Many shoppers will likely be unhappy with this new turn of events at Wal-Mart, even though the stores reportedly will continue to sell ammunition.
One of the new gun laws requires any person buying a gun to go through a background check, whether they purchase from a gun store, neighbor or friend.
“While Walmart and other gun sellers already were required to conduct federal background checks on buyers for their own firearms sales, Senate Bill 8 … requires checks on most private sales, even between close friends. The law allows exceptions for sales between family members—including great-grandchildren and first cousins—and for antique guns,” a local news report noted.
Employing nearly 14,000 associates, the shopping-store giant operates 53 retail units in New Mexico (including 35 supercenters and seven Sam’s Clubs). In addition, Wal-Mart stores spent $107 million with suppliers and paid $38.8 million in taxes and fees in transactions of taxable goods and services. It is unclear if the halt on firearms sales will lower the taxes/fees that Wal-Mart pays to the state of New Mexico.
Still recovering from an economic downturn in 2007, New Mexico is historically a ranching and mining state where hunting is an important business and also enables lower-income households to feed their families.