Walmart announced this week that it has removed gun and ammunition from its displays after concerns of 'civil unrest', according to reports. Customers can still purchase guns and ammunition by request, but they will be removed from the store's shelves out of "precaution for the safety" of the store's associates and customers, the Wall Street Journal originally reported.
“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,” spokesman Kory Lundberg said in a statement on Thursday.
Asked by the outlet to specify incidents of civil unrest, the company did not respond.
A Walmart in Port Richmond was ransacked Tuesday after the city broke out in riots following the death of Walter Wallace Jr, a Black man who, according to his family, was suffering from a mental health crisis, when two officers fatally shot him, according to a local media outlet in Philadelphia.
In June, Walmart reportedly took similar measures when protests erupted across the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd, CNN reported. Last September, Walmart stopped selling handguns and certain types of ammunition after the shooting in a Walmart in El Paso resulted in the death of 23 people. Additionally, it began prohibiting customers from openly carrying firearms in its stores.
“It’s clear to us that the status quo is unacceptable,” CEO Doug McMillon said in a memo to employees at the time. “We know these decisions will inconvenience some of our customers, and we hope they will understand.”
In 2015, Walmart stopped selling modern sporting rifles and in 2018 the company raised the gun-buying age to 21, NPR reported.
The spokesman said Walmart currently sells firearms at about half of its 4,700 U.S. stores, according to the Journal.
"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 spokesman said.