On August 3 2019 a gunman walked into a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. The gunman proceeded to open fire, kill 22 people and wound 24 others. In response to this shooting, Walmart has decided the best course of action to prevent this from happening again is to stop selling handguns and an assortment of different ammunition types in their stores.
Personally, I believe that Walmart’s choice to stop selling handguns, handgun ammunitions and certain short-barrel rifle ammunitions would have been a good initiative, if the Internet didn’t exist. The vast realm of the Internet allows a buyer to purchase ammunition with relative ease. There are only two federal regulations on buying ammunition online. The first federal regulation is that the buyer has to be at least 18 years old to purchase shotgun and rifle ammunition online. The second federal regulation is that the buyer has to be 21 years or older to purchase handgun and any non-rifle/shotgun ammunition online. The age requirement to buy ammunition may differ from state to state because each state can decide what the age restriction is by themselves. Since anyone who meets the age requirements looking to buy ammunition can purchase it online, Walmart’s choice to stop selling ammunition seems pretty pointless to me. Yet, Walmart sells about $400 million worth of ammunition per year, while the United States ammunition market sells about $2 billion per year. This means that Walmart was a large player in the ammunition market but they were not the biggest player. Vista Outdoor Inc. holds the title of being the largest ammunition seller in the United States.
In my opinion, Walmart’s decision to discontinue the sale of handguns was a reasonable financial choice. I think that it is a reasonable financial choice because before this policy was enacted, Walmart only sold handguns in their Alaskan stores. Since Walmart only sold handguns in a state that has the 3rd smallest population, Walmart probably wouldn’t rake in too much profits from handguns anyway. Yet, I also believe that Walmart’s choice to stop selling handguns is a huge political statement. I think that it is a huge political statement because it shows that Walmart is in fact fully aware of the major social issues that are occuring around our country.
Another policy that Walmart recently enacted is that unless you are an authorized law enforcement personnel, then you cannot open carry firearms in their stores in states where open carry is legal. I believe that this policy isn’t going to accomplish too much because if someone is going to commit a mass shooting, a policy that tells them that they cannot have a firearm in their store probably isn’t going to stop them from shooting up the place. Even though I find Walmart’s decision to stop selling ammunition and not allow non-law enforcement personnel to open carry in their stores stupid and pointless, at the end of the day I do not run Walmart but I trust that the people who run Walmart do know what their doing with their business.
Andrew Chase can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org