Walmart announced a number of changes to its firearm-sales policy on Tuesday in response to a mass shooting that killed 20 people at one of its stores in El Paso, Texas last month.
The company will no longer sell handgun ammunition and ammunition for short-barrel rifles, and will ask all customers to refrain from openly carrying firearms while shopping in states that allow open-carry unless law-enforcement officers are present. Walmart will also stop selling handguns in Alaska, the last remaining state where such sales are conducted.
In a memo distributed to employees Tuesday, CEO Doug McMillon said the policy change was prompted by the El Paso massacre as well as a similar recent attacks in Dayton, Ohio and Midland and Odessa, Texas.
“In a complex situation lacking a simple solution, we are trying to take constructive steps to reduce the risk that events like these will happen again,” he said. “The status quo is unacceptable.”
Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, accounts for roughly 2 percent of all gun sales and 20 percent of ammunition sales. McMillon estimated in his memo that the new policy will reduce Walmart’s share of the ammunition market to between 6 and 9 percent. He also noted that the store will continue to cater to law-abiding gun owners and called on Congress to enact more stringent gun-control legislation.
“We 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,” he said. “Congress and the administration should act. Given our decades of experience selling firearms, we are also offering to serve as a resource in the national debate on responsible gun sales.”
Walmart stopped selling assault-style rifles in 2015 and raised its minimum gun-purchase age from 18 to 21 in response to the mass shooting in Parkland, Fla. last year.