The retailer aims to “head off any potential theft of firearms if stores are broken into amid social unrest,” according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
“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 spokesman told WSJ.
The company made a similar movie in June amid nationwide protests. It’s not clear how long this change will last.
The Journal reports store managers received a memo Tuesday asking staff to pull guns and ammo, “due to the current unrest in isolated areas of the country and out of an abundance of caution.” The items can still be purchased by customers through a Walmart employee.
WKRN-TV received the following statement from the retail giant:
“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. 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. These items do remain available for purchase by customers.”Walmart Spokesperson
Phillip Arrington, who owns Goodlettsville Gun Shop in Middle Tennessee things it’s the right move for security reasons.
“A lot of the Walmarts stay open 24 hours,” Arrington said.
Arrington said right now they are trying to keep up with demand. It’s a trend he’s seen throughout the last few months.
“Gun sales have been off the charts industry-wide for 2020,” Arrington said. “A lot of people have asked me – because I’ve been in the industry so long – ‘how does this compare to say Y2K or Sandy Hook, or the Clinton years with gun bans?’ and what I tell them is you wrap all those sales up over the years and you compare them to 2020 and 2020 kind of knocks them out of the ballpark.”
He explained that a lot is happening this year driving people to buy guns even if they never did before.
“Election years are always busy but this year when you have a pandemic and you have civil unrest and stuff like that, the crime and looting, that tends to scare folks,” said Arrington.
(This story was originally published on October 29, 2020)
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