One of America’s largest big-box retailers and a significant purveyor of firearms and ammunition is yielding to anti-gun hysteria by calling for action on gun control and adding extra legal policies to its firearm and ammunition sales.
Walmart claims to account for 2% of guns sales and 20% of ammunition sales in the United States. As such, it is a frequent target of anti-gun activists, who treat the availability of firearms—including lawful transactions by federally licensed dealers—as a public-health crisis.
Some time ago Walmart chose the hopeless path of gradually giving in to anti-gun extremists—even though every concession merely amplifies their demands for total prohibition.
The company already has strict corporate policies governing firearm sales above and beyond those required by law. It already stopped selling handguns (except in Alaska) or semi-automatic rifles several years ago. It won’t sell long guns or ammunition to those under age 21, and it requires special training and vetting of employees who sell firearms. It also refuses to advertise firearm sales, videotapes each firearm transaction that occurs in its stores and won’t use the safety valve available under federal law that allows firearm transfers to occur when the FBI does not render a decision on a National Instant Criminal Background Check System check.
Needless to say, these steps—however much they might have inconvenienced or alienated the law-abiding public that buys firearms and ammunition—have done nothing to temper Walmart’s anti-gun critics.
And Walmart has again bowed to anti-gun activism with further restrictions. According to The Wall Street Journal, the retailer will now stop selling handguns in its Alaska stores, to better focus “on the needs of hunting and sport-shooting enthusiasts.” Other changes include discouraging otherwise legal open carry in its stores and restricting the types of ammunition Walmart stores will offer for sale.
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon sent an email in September to the company’s employees announcing the changes.
“After selling through our current inventory commitments,” McMillon wrote, “we will discontinue sales of short-barrel rifle ammunition such as the .223 caliber and 5.56 caliber that, while commonly used in some hunting rifles, can also be used in large capacity clips on military-style weapons … .” What led McMillon to label this very common round as “short-barrel rifle ammunition” is unclear. The company will also stop selling “handgun ammunition,” although it’s also unclear what that means—given that many common types of ammunition can be used in both handguns and long guns.
More confoundingly, McMillon said he sent letters urging the White House and the U.S. Congress “to move forward and strengthen background checks and to remove weapons from those who have been determined to pose an imminent danger.”
“We know these decisions will inconvenience some of our customers, and we hope they will understand,” McMillon stated.
Asking America’s increasingly put-upon gun owners to understand these discriminatory changes is perhaps a bridge too far.
The person who victimized Walmart customers in El Paso obviously had no regard for the law or for the sanctity of innocent human life.
And just as obviously, those innocent people had no protection from Walmart itself. Their only hope was to protect themselves.
Yet, now the company responds with corporate policies that will do nothing more than create more limits on the options its customers have to defend themselves and their families against violent criminals.