International

Walmart to keep selling guns

Walmart spokesperson Randy Hargrove says, “We are focussed on supporting our associates, our customers and the entire El Paso community.”

U.S. retail giant Walmart has said it has no plans to stop selling guns and ammunition, a spokesman said on Sunday. A man gunned down 20 people with a rifle at Walmart in Texas on Saturday, just four days after a Walmart employee shot dead two coworkers in Mississippi.

“We are focussed on supporting our associates, our customers and the entire El Paso community,” spokesperson Randy Hargrove said.

Following the El Paso shooting, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon posted a note on Instagram saying he “can’t believe” it was the second such in a week.

“My heart aches for the community in El Paso, especially the associates and customers at store 2201 and the families of the victims,” he wrote.

“I’m praying for them and I hope you will join me.”

Walmart founder Sam Walton loved guns – so much so that the American gun manufacturer Remington named a hunting rifle model after him. But the retail giant maintains that its target audience is sport shooters and hunters.

Walmart has made gun policy changes over the years, such as in 1993, when it stopped selling handguns.

The company stopped selling semi-automatic rifles in 2015, and after the Parkland, Florida shooting in February 2018 – which saw 17 people killed at a high school – Walmart raised the minimum age to buy guns and ammunition in its stores to 21.

Additionally, “Walmart goes beyond federal law requiring all customers to pass a background check before purchasing any firearm,” said Hargrove.

He also noted that all new Walmart employees are required to complete an active shooter training programme, which they then must pass on a computer four times a year.

But since it is the largest retail chain in the United States, Walmart continues to attract criticism for its enduring stock of firearms.

When the company tweeted it was “in shock” after the tragedy in El Paso, many Twitter users replied: “Stop selling guns.”

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 7:01:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/walmart-to-keep-selling-guns/article28826838.ece

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