Walmart’s New Rules On Guns And Ammo: Are They Healthy?

Robert Couse-Baker, CC BY 2.0

Today’s Morning Briefing from Kaiser Health News 

| Walmart wades further into gun politics with decision to stop selling ammo for military style assault rifles

| Sept 4, 2019

| Several years ago, Walmart stopped selling the type of assault-style rifle that was used in the El Paso shooting.

Now the company will effectively cease selling any ammunition that could be used in those weapons.

The company is also “respectfully requesting that customers no longer openly carry firearms into our stores.”

Walmart’s new gun rules top health news 

The New York Times:
Walmart To Limit Ammunition Sales And Discourage ‘Open Carry’ Of Guns In Stores

Walmart stepped forcefully into the national gun debate on Tuesday, saying it would stop selling ammunition that can be used in military-style assault rifles, would discourage its customers from openly carrying guns in its stores and would call on Congress to increase background checks and consider a new assault rifle ban.

One month ago, a gunman killed 22 people at a Walmart store in El Paso, a massacre that put pressure on the company to respond to the wave of mass shootings across the country.

It is the nation’s biggest retailer and a large seller of firearms and ammunition. (Corkery, 9/3)

Walmart’s New Rules On Guns And Ammo: Are They Healthy? Comment below.

USA Today: Walmart To Stop Selling Ammunition, Call On Congress For New Laws

Additionally, in the more than two dozen states with open carry laws, Walmart is “respectfully requesting that customers no longer openly carry firearms into our stores and Sam’s Clubs … unless they are authorized law enforcement officers,” said Dan Bartlett, executive vice president of corporate affairs.

That action follows “multiple cases” in which people entered their stores with visible weapons, upsetting customers and employees, Bartlett said. (Jones, 9/3)

The Wall Street Journal: Walmart To Stop Selling Ammunition For Assault-Style Weapons

The policy change takes effect immediately, with stores ceasing to offer those products after selling through existing inventories. The retailer stopped selling handguns in all U.S. stores except those in Alaska over two decades ago but will now cease such sales in that state as well.

“As a company, we experienced two horrific events in one week, and we will never be the same,” Walmart Chief Executive Doug McMillon wrote in an email to employees Tuesday. “Our remaining assortment will be even more focused on the needs of hunting and sport-shooting enthusiasts.” (Nassauer, 9/3)

Los Angeles Times: Walmart Drops Handgun Ammunition: Small Risk, Big Statement

Walmart is a major player in the $2-billion U.S. ammunition market: Its approximately 20% share means it sells about $400 million of ammunition a year.

Chief Executive Doug McMillon predicted its market share will drop to between 6% and 9% after the changes. The Bentonville, Ark., company does not break out sales figures for firearms and ammunition. (Masunaga and Peltz, 9/3)

CNN: Walmart Ends All Handgun Ammunition Sales And Asks Customers Not To Carry Guns Into Stores

McMillion, who said he was a gun owner himself, took pains to avoid alienating customers. “We will treat law-abiding customers with respect, and we will have a very non-confrontational approach,” he said. “Our remaining assortment will be even more focused on the needs of hunting and sport shooting enthusiasts.” (Meyersohn, 9/3)

CNBC: Walmart To Dramatically Step Back From Ammunition Sales After ‘Horrific’ Shootings

Some politicians saw this as a moment to push their own agendas. Presidential contender Beto O’Rourke praised Walmart’s decision but said the move wasn’t enough. “We can’t rely on corporations to stop gun violence,” he wrote on Twitter.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., wrote on her Twitter account that this was a “good start — but it’s not nearly enough. Walmart can and should do much more. And we need real gun reform, now.” (Thomas, 9/3)

The Hill: GOP Faces New Pressure To Act On Guns

Democrats have seized on the latest news to renew their calls for action, putting new pressure on the GOP. “It’s time to lead on this issue.

Put the House-passed background checks bill on the Senate floor for debate and a vote,” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday in a tweet directed at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) separately questioned “when will enough be enough?” (Carney and Lillis, 9/3)

The Hill: NRA Slams Walmart’s ‘Shameful’ Change To Gun Policies

The National Rifle Association (NRA) in a Tuesday statement slammed Walmart’s changes to its gun policies as “shameful” after a mass shooting last month in one of its stores.

“It is shameful to see Walmart succumb to the pressure of the anti-gun elites. Lines at Walmart will soon be replaced by lines at other retailers who are more supportive of America’s fundamental freedoms,” the statement said. (Frazin, 9/3)

CNBC: NRA Slams Walmart After Retailer Cuts Gun And Ammo Sales

The NRA has been a powerful force in recent discussions of potential new federal gun regulations. President Donald Trump acknowledged that he spoke to leaders of the group last month, as Democratic lawmakers clamored for new measures that the NRA opposed. (Higgins, 9/3)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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