New York (CNN Business) — Walmart on Tuesday announced it will reduce its gun and ammunition sales, one month after more than 20 people were killed in a mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. Walmart also pressured Congress to enact gun safety measures.
The company, America’s largest retailer, said it will stop selling handgun ammunition and ammunition for short-barrel rifles after selling all of its current inventory. Walmart (WMT) will also stop selling handguns in Alaska, the only state where it still sells handguns. And Walmart will request that customers no longer openly carry guns into its 4,700 US stores, or its Sam’s Club stores, in states that allow open carry. However, Walmart will continue to sell long barrel deer rifles and shotguns and much of the ammunition for those guns. Walmart will also continue to allow concealed carry by customers with permits in its stores.
In a memo to employees on Tuesday, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said Walmart’s changes were prompted by the El Paso, Texas, shooting, as well as recent mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and Midland and Odessa, Texas. “In a complex situation lacking a simple solution, we are trying to take constructive steps to reduce the risk that events like these will happen again,” he said. “The status quo is unacceptable.” Walmart represents about 2% of the market for guns today, the company said for the first time recently.
Walmart believes it is not among the top three gun sellers in the industry, but it estimates it has about a 20% market share of ammunition sales. On Tuesday, McMillon said that Walmart’s changes to ammunition policies will reduce its market share from around 20% to between 6% and 9%. “We believe it will likely drift toward the lower end of that range, over time, given the combination of these changes,” he said.