Walmart says it will discontinue the sale of ammunition and also publicly request that customers refrain from openly carrying firearms in stores even where state laws allow it.
The announcement comes just days after a mass shooting claimed seven lives in Odessa, Texas and follows two other back-to-back shootings last month, one of them at a Walmart store.
The Bentonville, Arkansas-based discounter said today it will stop selling short-barrel and handgun ammunition after it runs out of its current inventory. It will also discontinue handgun sales in Alaska, marking its complete exit from handguns and allowing it to focus on hunting rifles and related ammunition only.
Walmart is further requesting that customers refrain from openly carrying firearms at its stores unless they are law enforcement officers. Last month, a gunman entered a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas and killed 22 people using an AK-style firearm that Walmart already bans the sale of. Texas became an open carry state in 2016, allowing people to openly carry firearms in public.
Walmart’s moves will reduce its market share of ammunition from around 20% to a range of about 6% to 9%, according to Tuesday’s memo. About half of its more than 4,000 U.S. stores sell firearms.
In the aftermath of the El Paso shooting, Walmart ordered workers to remove video game signs and displays that depict violence from stores nationwide. Critics have also wanted Walmart to stop supporting politicians backed by the National Rifle Association.