Walmart said Tuesday it will stop selling handguns and some types of ammunition in its U.S. stores following recent mass shootings.
The world’s largest retailer will end sales of ammunition for short-barrel rifles — such as the .223 caliber and 5.56 caliber — and all handgun ammunition, once it sells its current inventory. Walmart also announced it will stop selling handguns in Alaska, the only state it still sells them in.
The changes come amid an effort to reduce gun violence following mass shootings in Ohio and Texas, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in a statement to employees. In July, a disgruntled employee killed two Walmart associates and wounded a police officer at one of the company’s locations.
“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,” McMillon said.
Walmart is also asking customers not to carry firearms in stores in states with “open carry” laws unless they are authorized law enforcement officers.
“We know these decisions will inconvenience some of our customers, and we hope they will understand,” McMillon said. “As a company, we experienced two horrific events in one week, and we will never be the same.”
Walmart said it represents 2 percent of the market for guns in America today, and estimates the decision will drop its market share of ammunition to about 6 percent from 9 percent; it’s current market share is around 20 percent.