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NAT’L – RETAILERS – Walmart’s Small Move on Guns Could Have a Big Impact

Days after a mass shooting at one of Walmart Inc.’s stores in El Paso last month, the nation’s largest retailer offered a cautious and decorous response. CEO Doug McMillon offered prayers for the families of those affected and pledged the company would be “thoughtful” about how it responded. Now, a month later, the CEO’s thoughts have morphed into company policy — and that policy promises to enmesh Walmart ever more deeply into America’s politics of guns. Walmart said Tuesday it is asking customers not to openly carry firearms into its stores in states where doing so is permitted. It also said it would stop selling handgun ammunition and certain other types of ammunition. The company expects that move will reduce its market share in the ammunition category from 20% to between 6% and 9%, making it a significantly smaller player. These are perfectly sensible steps, consistent with the gradual approach Walmart has taken in recent years to become more restrictive in its firearm policies. And yet, by continuing to sell hunting rifles and other gear for sport shooters, the retailer is not fully backing away from gun culture or the shoppers who embrace it. Its new policy allows Walmart to walk a fine line.  [full article]

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