Some Republicans may champion a national move toward the Right, but there’s no doubt about it: The country is changing, and it isn’t going backward.
“Forward” may not be the correct term, either.
Whatever the direction, Walmart hopped on the bus Tuesday with a substantial announcement regarding firearm sales.
As reported by The Associated Press:
Walmart says it will discontinue the sale of handgun and short-barrel rifle ammunition and also publicly request that customers refrain from openly carrying firearms in stores even where state laws allow it.
Request?? I know areas where that request will be met with an emphatic “No.”
Also, if I may, the appeal seems curious:
At a Walmart, a madman comes in and murders innocents with no way of protecting themselves. Walmart responds: Whenever you come into the store, please be innocents with no way of protecting yourselves.
The open-carry person isn’t likely to keep a concealment rig in the truck just for times when they need to “Save Money, Live Better.”
I can’t think of a store less likely to do well asking its customers to leave their guns outside. And that was true before the joint was proven as a ripe gallery for a shootup.
Saleswise, Walmart’s not just banning some bullets; it’s canceling its remaining hawking of handguns. As for all that, if the outlet wants to lessen its role as a ballistics broker, that business will presumably be aptly absorbed by other chains happy to take it.
Here’s the AP again:
The Bentonville, Arkansas-based discounter said Tuesday it will stop handgun ammunition as well as short-barrel rifle ammunition, such as the .223 caliber and 5.56 caliber used in military style weapons, after it runs out of its current inventory.
It will also discontinue handgun sales in Alaska. Walmart stopped selling handguns in the mid-1990s, with the exception of Alaska. The latest move marks its complete exit from that business and allows it to focus on hunting rifles and related ammunition only.
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon released a memo to employees Tuesday indicating — in part — the following:
A month ago, in El Paso, Texas, a gunman with an assault-style rifle launched a hate-filled attack in our store, shooting 48 people resulting in the loss of 22 innocent lives. Just a few days prior, two of our associates were killed by another associate in our store in Southaven, Mississippi. And hours after the shooting in El Paso, our country experienced another mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio. This weekend brought tragedy to Midland and Odessa, Texas.
In Southaven and El Paso, our associates responded to anger and hate with courage and self-sacrifice. Our immediate priorities were supporting our associates and the impacted families and cooperating with law enforcement. In parallel, we have been focused on store safety and security. 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.
We’ve been giving a lot of thought to our sale of firearms and ammunition. We’ve previously made decisions to stop selling handguns or military-style rifles such as the AR-15, to raise the age limit to purchase a firearm or ammunition to 21, to require a “green light” on a background check while federal law only requires the absence of a “red light,” to videotape the point of sale for firearms and to only allow certain trained associates to sell firearms.
Today, we’re sharing the decisions we’ve made that go further…
Doug noted a resultant, pending shrinkage of the bohemoth’s marketshare:
We believe these actions will reduce our market share of ammunition from around 20% to a range of approximately 6 to 9%. We believe it will likely drift toward the lower end of that range, over time, given the combination of these changes.
Now back to the issue of obviously-armed shopping: Many states allow open carry; you can walk into a store like John Wayne. But The Duke’s no longer welcome at the ‘Mart:
As it relates to safety in our stores, there have been multiple incidents since El Paso where individuals attempting to make a statement and test our response have entered our stores carrying weapons in a way that frightened or concerned our associates and customers. We have also had well-intentioned customers acting lawfully that have inadvertently caused a store to be evacuated and local law enforcement to be called to respond. These incidents are concerning and we would like to avoid them, so we are respectfully requesting that customers no longer openly carry firearms into our stores or Sam’s Clubs in states where “open carry” is permitted – unless they are authorized law enforcement officers.
We believe the opportunity for someone to misinterpret a situation, even in open carry states, could lead to tragic results. We hope that everyone will understand the circumstances that led to this new policy and will respect the concerns of their fellow shoppers and our associates. As it relates to concealed carry by customers with permits, there is no change to our policy or approach. This morning, we briefed your leadership team on how to communicate this change in policy to customers when needed, and they will be sharing that with you very soon. We will treat law-abiding customers with respect, and we will have a very non-confrontational approach. Our priority is your safety. We will be providing new signage to help communicate this policy in the coming weeks.
Doug went on to “encourage our nation’s leaders to move forward and strengthen background checks and to remove weapons from those who have been determined to pose an imminent danger” (see more on that here).
Will any of this change crime? Does taking away the location-specific availability of weaponry — for both those with good and evil intent — alter the balance of people intending harm vs people capable of preventing it?
And how about disarming those on-site capable of prevention?
I look forward to your answers in the Comments section.
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