Walmart's New Gun Policy Fuels Culture War Instead of Compromise

Walmart’s New Gun Policy Fuels Culture War Instead of Compromise

Walmart is responding to gun control activists by putting an end to the sales of handgun ammunition and short-barrel rifle ammunition in its stores.

Following the deadly shooting in July at a Mississippi Walmart store and another in August at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, the company was heavily criticized by the media, gun control advocates, politicians, and even some of its own employees for not discontinuing the sales of weapons.

In addition to the changes to the retailer’s inventory, Walmart will also ask customers to stop openly carrying firearms in stores located in states where “open carry” is legal. Concealed carry is still OK, however.

gun control

In a memo distributed to employees, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said that fear that “someone might misinterpret a situation, even in open carry states, could lead to tragic results.”

“We hope that everyone will understand the circumstances that led to this new policy and will respect the concerns of their fellow shoppers and our associates.”

To the mega retailer, these changes are significant because up until now Walmart had a 20% share of the market for ammunition while holding a 2% firearms market share. Now, the firm expects its ammunition share to drop to a range of 6% to 9%.

“We know these decisions will inconvenience some of our customers, and we hope they will understand,” McMillon said. “As a company, we experienced two horrific events in one week, and we will never be the same.”

But while this move may appear unprecedented, Walmart is no stranger to changes in firearm sale policies following shootings.

In the 1990s, the company stopped selling handguns across the country with the exception of Alaska and in 2015, it stopped selling semi-automatic weapons such as the AR-15 rifle. After the Parkland, Florida, shooting in 2018, Walmart changed its age policy and stopped selling guns and ammunition to people under 21.

While Walmart has a right to change its policies as it sees fit, the company is responding to pressure coming from a faction of society that does not represent the country’s population of nearly 330 million people. As a matter of fact, Walmart’s customers are as diverse as can be, and it’s more than natural to expect that communities in certain parts of the country will greatly mourn the retailer’s latest decision. Nevertheless, Walmart isn’t the only retailer in America and it certainly won’t be the last to respond to market demands.

As residents from gun-loving states look for another source for their ammunition, they will be doing so peacefully and without holding a grudge against the firm. And that’s because whatever Walmart does, it won’t restrict a person’s right to choose where he or she shops.

Unlike government, private companies will respond to pressure and demand, but they alone cannot dictate what other firms will do in response. In a truly open market, other firms would see an opportunity for growth by offering precisely what Walmart won’t.

But in a country with a strong central government like America, rigid top-down rules have the opposite effect.

Time to Split Up

In a country with such a diverse number of communities, cultures, economies, and geographies, there can never be a one-size-fits-all approach to anything. Unfortunately, gun control activists (and even some gun right groups) seem to ignore this reality, pushing for rules that impact everybody.

As Mises Institute’s Jeff Deist explained, our right to self-defense “flows naturally from self-ownership of our bodies,” meaning that a government-backed right to gun ownership is unnecessary, as that has long been our right, regardless of what federal authorities say.

Like Walmart, communities that share the same values, background, and culture should be able to say “no” to a particular rule without fearing being reprimanded by the federal government. Unfortunately, Americans mostly frown upon the idea of independence these days, making it hard for an effective decentralizing movement to spring up.

Comment section

3 thoughts on “Walmart’s New Gun Policy Fuels Culture War Instead of Compromise

  1. <>

    Thank you for at least acknowledging my right to protect myself, and others as I can, against attack in your stores.>>


    The “misinterpretation” is by those who do not understand natural rights, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution.


    My concern for fellow shoppers/associates does not exceed my concern for my natural and Constitutional rights.


    I do not understand your apparent unwillingness to put more importance on your bottom line than on the basic tenets of the Constitutional republic in which you live and operate.

    In the past, Walmart has been my “go-to” store for a large majority of my purchases because of availability, convenience and cost. It no longer will be.

    I will shop elsewhere, and use Walmart as a last resort, if at all.

    Get some corporate cojones and stand for the basic principles that support the economic system that has made you so successful. I will those who do.

  2. I agree WalleyWorld (WW) has the right to change their marketing cosmetics to bend to the Left BUT I have my rights as well.
    Boycotts are mostly useless but then there is Gillette. LOL
    Honestly I spend more on beer than ammo over time but there are other stores in my area that are in competition with WalleyWorld and sell beer (actually 1/4 mile away) and as long as I am going there I might as well get other groceries. There are some things that WW sells that the other stores don’t and I will possibly buy from WW but then there is Amazon for the higher ticket Items. Also, while I respect “open carry” I don’t believe I should wear a sign saying “Shoot Me First” – I have a CCP and recommend getting one.

  3. As this piece just noted all of the gun policy changes from 1990, did any work? If Walmart is so concerned about the death of their customers post armed police to protect their customers wait that would cost money. Money is what’s important to Walmart not its customers or they would stop selling alcohol, tobacco and automotive products and services where all three kill way more then any gun or anyone open carrying

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