Five days before the national elections, national retailer Walmart has withdrawn all firearms and ammunition displays from its U.S. stores, “due to the current unrest in isolated areas of the country and out of abundant caution,” a store spokesman said.
The retailer will continue to sell weapons and ammunition in its approximately 2,350 U.S. stores that offer them. But the retailer said it will remove gun displays to discourage theft when social unrest and looting affect stores, the Wall Street Journal said. Walmart officials have not yet said how long the displays will remain removed.
According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, gun sales have soared this year compared to last year, with background checks on gun purchases from January to July 2020 up 72 percent over the same period last year. In July 2020, the foundation told NPR that 40 percent of all firearms were sold to first-time firearms owners.
In a July report, the Brookings Institute, a Washington-based think tank, said that from March to June 2020, three million more firearms were sold than in the previous year. The Institute said the increase could be a possible result of the COVID 19 closure and civil unrest following the murder of Black Minneapolis-based George Floyd by a white police officer.
Walmart represents 2 percent of the U.S. firearms market, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in an August 2019 profit call, meaning that its annual firearms sales are $600 million, just under 0.2 percent of its $332 billion annual revenue, according to AdAge.
However, according to a September 2019 Washington Post article, his ammunition sales once accounted for 20 percent of the U.S. market. This may have changed, given the retailer’s evolving position in arms and ammunition sales.
Walmart stopped selling small arms in all its stores in 1993 (except in Alaska) and did the same with assault rifles and other military rifles in 2015. The age for ammunition sales was raised from 18 to 21 years in 2018. After two fatal shootings in its stores in El Paso, Texas and Southaven, Mississippi, it also stopped selling ammunition for military weapons in September 2019 and banned customers from openly carrying firearms in its stores.
The retailer continues to sell long-range deer rifles, shotguns, other firearms and bullets for sport and hunting. He also allows his customers to carry concealed firearms with a permit.
However, the store records all firearms and ammunition sales on video and also requires “green light” for background checks. Their background checks are stricter than the mere absence of a red light, which is currently permitted by the three-day federal waiting period for gun sales.
Tekk.tv contacted the National Rifle Association for comments.