Southaven shooting cited in Walmart’s gun decision

SOUTHAVEN, Miss. — Barely a month after the shooting at a Southaven Walmart, the retail giant is making changes in effort to increase customer safety.

Walmart announced yesterday it will stop selling certain types of ammunition with the recent rash of mass shootings across the country.

They’re still allowing guns in their stores, but some advocates think the corporate titan is wading too far into the political world.

Citing the employee shooting in Southaven and the mass shooting at an El Paso store, Walmart claimed in a statement released yesterday that “the status quo is unacceptable.”

They’ll start by discontinuing short-barrel rifle and handgun ammunition, but they’ll also ask customers to make changes.

Walmart has requested that customers no longer openly carry firearms into stores, saying that the misinterpretation of a gun could lead to additional tragedy.

Unsurprisingly, the NRA disagrees. We contacted local NRA members who directed us to a national statement that read in part: “It is shameful to see Walmart succumb to the pressure of anti-gun elites.”

However, Walmart will still allow concealed carry, as it has before.

One local gun store owner believes in the right to carry, but doesn’t mind the open carry changes.

"I believe all firearms should be concealed," said Jay Hill, owner of Classic Arms Memphis. “Someone carrying a gun openly just draws attention to you. In a situation, it tells the shooter to shoot me first.”

Toward the end of his statement, Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon provided one final gun debate point, calling for stricter background checks and laws that will make it easier to take firearms from those that could pose an imminent threat.

Gun advocates believe taking a political side and changing inventory could have a real impact on business.

"It’ll help small businesses like these," Hill said. "Like this shop and the other gun shops in the area. Other larger retailers will benefit as well. That’s just obvious.”

As part of their statement, Walmart says it’ll work with other retailers to promote safe firearm sales and practices.

In the last 24 hours Kroger has also discouraged open carry.

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