Walmart will halt sales of ammunition for handguns and some military-style rifles, the company announced Tuesday, calling the status quo on firearms in the United States “unacceptable.”
Walmart also said it will direct consumers not to carry firearms into its stores, a practice that is legal in “open carry” states but which has sparked safety scares in recent weeks.
The moves, which were praised by gun control advocates and ridiculed by gun rights supporters, came a month after a deadly shooting at an El Paso, Texas store claimed 22 lives, a calamity that has been followed by subsequent attacks, including another shooting over the weekend in West Texas that left seven dead.
Chief Executive Doug McMillon called on Congress and the White House to enact “common sense” measures, including stronger background checks for gun purchases, while signaling the retail giant still plans to sell sporting rifles.
“As we’ve seen before, these horrific events occur and then the spotlight fades. We should not allow that to happen,” McMillon said in a statement.
“Congress and the administration should act.”
The actions stop well short of the outright ban on gun sales that some gun control advocates called for but are still significant given Walmart’s size and prominence in many communities in the United States and its influence in corporate America.
Later Tuesday, Kroger, the biggest US supermarket chain, called for strengthened background checks and announced it was “respectfully asking that customers no longer openly carry firearms into our stores, other than authorized law enforcement officers.”
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