Walmart has once again removed displays of guns and ammunition in its U.S. stores for an unspecified time following protests in Philadelphia over the police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr. on Monday.
“We have seen some isolated civil unrest, and as we have done on several occasions over the last few years, we have moved our firearms and ammunition off the sales floor as a precaution for the safety of our associates and customers,” a Walmart spokesperson said in a statement.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Walmart is looking to prevent firearm theft and has not decided how long the products will remain out of view.
The spokesperson noted customers can still purchase guns and ammunition at about half of its 4,800 U.S. locations—they’re just no longer on display.
Walmart made a similar decision following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.
A year ago, after shootings at stores in Mississippi and El Paso, Texas, Walmart amended its firearm sale policy to focus more on the needs of hunters and sports shooters. As a result, it stopped selling certain types of ammunition and ended the sale of handguns in Alaska, which was the only remaining state where the practice stood. (It removed in-store displays of violent video games prior to conducting this policy review.)
“It’s important to note that we only sell firearms in approximately half of our stores, primarily where there are large concentrations of hunters, sportsmen and sportswomen,” the spokesperson added.
Around the same time, the retailer stopped selling ecigarettes and other vaping products following “growing federal, state and local regulatory complexity and uncertainty,” but analysts noted guns are far more politically charged and therefore trickier for retailers to navigate, policy-wise.
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