Walmart to Limit Ammunition Sales After Mass Shooting at El Paso Store

FILE -- People bring flowers and pray at a makeshift memorial outside the Walmart where 22 people were killed four days earlier, in El Paso, Texas, Aug. 7, 2019. The nation’s largest retailer said it would stop selling ammunition for certain short barrel rifles and for all handguns. (Celia Talbot Tobin/The New York Times)
  • “These incidents are concerning, and we would like to avoid them,” he added.


Michael Corkery / c.2019 The New York Times Company

In response to the shooting in its El Paso, Texas, store last month that killed 22 people, Walmart said Tuesday that it would stop selling certain types of ammunition that are commonly used by hunters but can also be used in military assault rifles.

The nation’s largest retailer made the announcement after weeks of discussion about how best to respond to the violence Aug. 3. The company said that after “selling through our current inventory commitments” it would discontinue the sale of certain short-barrel rifle ammunition and all handgun ammunition.

Walmart had stopped selling the type of assault-style rifle that was used in the El Paso shooting several years ago, but the company’s chief executive, Doug McMillon, said the retailer recognized the need to do more “to make the country safer.”

“It’s clear to us that the status quo is unacceptable,” McMillon said in a statement.

The move is expected to reduce Walmart’s share of the nation’s ammunition market to as low as 6%, from 20%. Walmart said last month that it accounted for about 2% of the nation’s firearm sales.

Walmart said it was also ending the sale of handguns in Alaska, the only state where the company still sells them. Walmart stopped selling handguns in every other state years ago but continued to sell handgun ammunition across the country.

Walmart also said it was “respectfully requesting” that customers refrain from carrying guns openly into its stores in states where the “open carry” of firearms is allowed. McMillon said “there have been multiple incidents since El Paso where individuals attempting to make a statement and test our response have entered our stores carrying weapons in a way that frightened or concerned our associates and customers.”

“These incidents are concerning, and we would like to avoid them,” he added.