Walmart has announced changes to the way it sells guns, following on from two shootings at its stores within one week. According to ABC News, CEO Doug McMillon made the announcement in a company memo on Tuesday, detailing plans to discontinue sales of certain types of rifle ammo. Most gun users buy them for hunting, but they can be used in military-style weapons. As well as this important step, Walmart is going to sell remaining stocks of handgun ammunition and handguns in Alaska, thus marking its complete departure from selling the weapons completely.
At the moment, the supermarket chain holds a U.S. market share of the ammunition market of 20%. These changes will reduce that number significantly to between 6% and 9%. The decision comes on the back of a spew of deadly shootings that left communities shattered in the U.S. The company cited an attack in Southaven, Mississippi, on July 30, and the El Paso, Texas, shooting on Aug. 3. 24 people died, with dozens more injured. Dayton, Ohio was also rocked when a gunman opened fire in a nightclub district. Most recently, an assailant stole a mail truck before shooting several people on a highway at random, including a 17-month-old child.
McMillon explained, "We've also been listening to a lot of people inside and outside our company as we think about the role we can play in helping to make the country safer. It's clear to us that the status quo is unacceptable." He went on to explain that while some customers may feel "inconvenienced" by the reforms, they will still stock items for "hunting and sport shooting enthusiasts."
It's not the first time Walmart has reviewed its gun policy. Back in 2015, the company was one of several that stopped selling semi-automatic rifles. Three years later, a shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, prompted a rise in the minimum gun-buying age to 21. Walmart also stopped selling toys that looked like guns. As well as listening to the public, the chain is prompting politicians to "move forward and strengthen background checks to remove weapons from those who have been determined to pose an imminent danger."
Among those killed in recent shootings were 6-year-old Stephen Romero and 13-year-old Keyla Salazar.