Pool’s open: When do we think Walmart will finally do the inevitable and discontinue gun and ammo sales altogether? They ended sales of AR-15s in 2015, remember. All that’s left now long rifles and shotguns — except in Alaska, where handguns were still available until today. That loophole is being closed now, per the chain’s new policy. Their ammo inventory had remained more expansive, with handgun ammunition plus short-barreled rifle calibers like the .223 and 5.56 that can be used in assault rifles still in stock and on sale nationwide. But that’s also ending today.
From now on they’re down to pure hunting weapons and accessories, the sort of thing that even many gun-control advocates *claim* they can tolerate people owning. But this can’t possibly last: There’ll be more mass shootings, and even if there’s no link to Walmart products in any of them, the mere fact that America’s largest retailer continues to “mainstream” guns by offering a limited few for sale will be deemed problematic. If you want to make firearms taboo among the public, you can’t very well have them on sale at the local mega-store, even if it’s only long rifles that no would-be mass killer would ever bother with. Walmart will need to go gun-free in the name of Progress.
And they will. But when? 2021, figure? Before, after?
BREAKING: Walmart will discontinue all sales of short-barrel rifle ammunition that can be used with military style weapons, discontinue sales of handgun ammunition and stop all handgun sales in Alaska, following two shootings at Walmart stores this summer. https://t.co/xtIAvxxWlu pic.twitter.com/d23XxnYDcP
— CNBC Now (@CNBCnow) September 3, 2019
They’re not just tweaking their own inventory. Walmart customers are now being asked not to open-carry unless security is present. And the CEO is calling on Washington to pass some new forms of gun control:
“We’ve also been listening to a lot of people inside and outside our company as we think about the role we can play in helping to make the country safer,” he added. “It’s clear to us that the status quo is unacceptable.”
McMillon said he will also be sending letters to the White House and other Congressional leaders, asking for action on “common sense measures.” He’s calling on the government to “strengthen background checks and to remove weapons from those who have been determined to pose an imminent danger.”
“Congress and the administration should act,” the CEO said.
Red-flag laws of the sort alluded to in that excerpt poll very well and expanded background checks poll phenomenally, almost universally, well. Righties will greet the new policy by warning that Walmart risks a boycott among gun enthusiasts by endorsing gun-control regulations but (a) that risk is overstated given how popular these proposals are across the population and (b) they’re already prepared to take a financial hit in the name of their new almost-gun-free policy. Right now Walmart accounts for around 20 percent of all U.S. ammo sales; by getting rid of handgun and short-barreled rifle ammunition, they project their share falling to between six and nine percent. How often does a mega-corporation volunteer to give up national market share in a product on the scale? Walmart’s not playing around. Especially after the bad press they received for the token gesture they made after the El Paso and Dayton shootings.
It could be that they’re sensing a shift nationally in America’s approach to guns and looking to get ahead of the curve, or (relatedly) it could be that they’re afraid of becoming a core target of progressives on this issue. Discontinuing sales of the AR-15 relieved some liberal pressure on Walmart over mass shootings but that status quo will hold only until it doesn’t. So long as they were still selling ammo for handguns and assault rifles, they stood a good chance of their products being used in the next mass murder given the sheer ubiquity of Walmarts nationwide. A Walmart-linked mass shooting might be all it might take to generate a national boycott by gun-grabbers that could cause the company real economic pain, especially during an election season in which left-wing candidates would be eager to leverage the issue. (Four different Dem hopefuls called on Walmart to stop selling guns altogether a few weeks ago.) They’re willing to take a hit on ammo sales to prevent a potentially bigger hit later.
I’m going to guess they’re gun-free by 2022. What have you got, over or under?