Exactly a month after a gunman killed 22 people at Walmart in El Paso, Texas, the CEO of Walmart issued a new policy discouraging customers from openly carrying guns in stores and no longer selling certain types of ammunition.
Walmart stores will sell through and stop selling .223 caliber and 5.56 caliber ammunition, handgun ammunition and handguns at Alaska stores, the only state where Walmart still sold them, according to Walmart CEO Doug McMillon’s news release Sept. 3.
The specific sizes of ammunition that Walmart will no longer sell, according to the news release, can be used in some hunting rifles but can also be used in “large capacity clips on military-style weapons.”
Nodaway County lead for Moms Demand Action Jessica Piper said her first thought when she heard about the new policy was her daughter-in-law Konnor, who ran from a Walmart in Kansas City, Missouri, three weeks ago when two armed men entered the store.
“She ran several blocks and called my son who called me not knowing if she or my granddaughter were OK in that moment,” Piper said. “It was horrible not knowing if my family was in an active shooting event. No one should have to worry about their children’s safety while shopping.”
According to Fox 4 Kansas City, the two men entered the store to buy hunting supplies armed with handguns. Missouri has no laws against open carry of firearms in public, but according to McMillon, this new policy will prevent such incidents from causing panic in stores.
According to the news release, law enforcement officials and those licensed with concealed carry permits can still bring guns into Walmart stores.
Freshman Nick Cummings, an emergency and disaster management major and a member of College Republicans, said he doesn’t know anyone upset about the policy because he hasn’t seen many people open carry in public in his hometown outside of St. Louis or in Maryville.
“Missouri is like the wild west when it comes to gun laws,” Cummings said. “We’re a constitutional carry state, which I’m in favor of, but I don’t think it (the policy) sets that much of a precedent.”
Cummings said while he wouldn’t make the same decision as Walmart if he owned a business, he supports its right to make decisions about its own stores and reputation. He said he hopes that Walmart taking up less of the firearms and ammunition markets will allow smaller retailers to grow in small towns like Maryville.
Piper said she hopes businesses like Walmart and Aldi making these policies puts pressure on lawmakers.
“If our current lawmakers in Missouri are unwilling to make changes to our gun laws, we are thrilled to see companies listening to Americans on gun safety,” Piper said. “We will continue to apply pressure to our elected representatives to do something about gun violence in our cities and state.”
Walmart’s media relations team did not respond in time for publication.