Sep 3, 2019

Walmart to halt sale of ammunition for handguns, assault-style weapons

Photo: Frederic J. Brown/Contributor/Getty Images

In the wake of 2 mass shootings at Walmart stores in recent months, the company said Tuesday it plans to discontinue handgun ammunition and all sales of short-barrel rifle ammunition that can be used with military-style assault weapons, CNBC reports.

Why it matters: Walmart is the world's largest retailer. So while this move is incremental, it's one of the strongest statements yet from the business community on the issue of gun violence.

By the numbers: Walmart estimated that it made up about 2% of the market for firearms, putting it among the "top three sellers in the industry," per CNBC. The company also owns an estimated 20% share of the market for ammunition. Walmart anticipates that will drop to 6%–9% with the new policy in effect.

The big picture: Walmart has faced pressure, including from its own employees, for failing to pull weapons from its stores after deadly shootings at a Mississippi Walmart in July and an El Paso Walmart in August.

  • The company will also end all handgun sales in Alaska.
  • Walmart plans to sell through its existing inventory before discontinuing sales of short-barrel rifle ammunition, commonly associated with hunting, and large capacity clips on military-style weapons.
  • Walmart is also requesting its customers stop visibly carrying firearms in stores in "open carry" states unless authorized law enforcement officers are present. 

The impact: Kroger followed Walmart's lead on Sept. 3, asking shoppers outside of authorized law enforcement not to openly carry guns in "open carry" states, CNBC reports.

  • CVS and Walgreens joined Walmart and Kroger in asking customers not to open-carry firearms in stores on Sept. 5.
  • Albertsons Company followed suit on Sept. 7, asking customers "to not openly carry firearms" in stores "unless they are authorized law enforcement officers."

What they're saying: CEO Doug McMillon wrote in his note to employees announcing the new policy: "It's clear to us that the status quo is unacceptable."

  • "He also called on government leaders to "strengthen background checks and to remove weapons from those who have been determined to pose an imminent danger."

Last month, McMillon pledged a "thoughtful and deliberate" response in the aftermath of the El Paso shooting, though the company took no immediate steps to alter its gun sales policy.

  • 2020 candidates, like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders called on Walmart to stop its gun sales — and saw a walkout by 40 white-collar workers in California, per the Washington Post.

Worth noting, via Axios' Erica Pandey and Courtenay Brown: Despite Walmart's massive footprint, smaller gun shops and gun shows make up a much larger piece of the vendor pie than big retailers do, and a lot of transactions take place in cash — well outside the purview of big business.

Go deeper: White House and Congress say it's "September or bust" on gun legislation

Go deeper

CVS, Walgreens join Walmart and Kroger in halting in-store open carry

Photos: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images; Joe Raedle/Getty Images

CVS and Walgreens both announced Thursday that they are asking customers to no longer openly carry firearms in their stores.

The big picture: The changes follow a mass shooting last month that killed 22 at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. Earlier this week, Walmart ended sales of ammunition for handguns and short-barrel rifle ammunition that can be used with military-style assault weapons. Walmart also asked customers to no longer open carry in their stores, which was followed by a similar request by Kroger earlier this week.

Go deeperArrowSep 5, 2019

Walmart's action on guns could pay off

Reproduced from CivicScience; Chart: Axios Visuals

Walmart's decision earlier this week to stop all sales of handgun and short-barrel rifle ammunition — as well as prohibiting open carry in its stores — was met with positive reviews on Wall Street, where its stock climbed more than 1% on Wednesday, and data suggests it may have more room to run.

By the numbers: Research firm CivicScience's survey of 1,986 U.S. adult Walmart shoppers found that under the open carry changes, 29% are more likely to shop in Walmart stores and 22% are "much more likely" to shop there.

Go deeperArrowSep 5, 2019

145 CEOs urge Senate to pass gun control legislation

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

145 top CEOs signed a letter urging the Republican-controlled Senate to act on gun control by passing legislation already introduced by Democrats, reports the New York Times.

The big picture: Corporate America is taking the lead in tackling gun control. Multiple retail companies, including Walmart and CVS, are asking customers to not openly carry firearms in their stores. After a deadly shooting at an El Paso Walmart killed 22 people, Walmart stores stopped selling ammunition for handguns and assault rifles.

Go deeperArrowSep 12, 2019