Walmart hits a record high after announcing major overhauls to its gun policies
REUTERS/ Michelle McLoughlin
- On Tuesday, Walmart announced it would change its policies around gun sales in response to two deadly shootings at stores in Texas and Mississippi.
- The retailers also said it's "respectfully requesting" that shoppers stop openly carrying firearms in their stores.
- Walmart shares rose 1% to an all-time high on Wednesday following the news.
- The change was met with both praise and criticism. Media figures, Democratic presidential candidates, and the NRA weighed in on Walmart's decision.
- Watch Walmart trade live on Markets Insider.
A series of overhauls to its gun policies is sending Walmart's stock soaring.
Shares of the retailer rose more than 1% to a record high on Wednesday. The gains game after Walmart announced Tuesday that it would change its policies around gun-sales in response to two deadly shootings that killed 24 people at Walmart stores in El Paso, Texas and Southaven, Mississippi.
In addition, Walmart will bar shoppers from openly carrying guns in stores, although the policy will vary by location. The policy does not extend to shoppers carrying concealed firearms.
In a memo to employees Tuesday, Walmart CEO Dough McMillion said that the company will discontinue sales of short-barrel rifle ammunition, handgun ammunition, and handgun sales in Alaska (the only state where Walmart sells handguns.)
"We know these decisions will inconvenience some of our customers, and we hope they will understand," McMillon said. "As a company, we experienced two horrific events in one week, and we will never be the same."
Walmart has been criticized for selling both guns and ammunition used in a number of recent deadly shootings, even as the company has gradually tightened its policies on sales over the years. It stopped selling handguns in the US (except Alaska) two decades ago, and ceased sales of assault-style rifles in 2015.
The company is responsible for 2% of firearm sales in the US and 20% of ammunition sales, McMillon said in August.
"There have been multiple incidents since El Paso where individuals attempting to make a statement and test our response have entered our stores carrying weapons in a way that frightened or concerned our associates and customers," McMillon said.
He continued: "These incidents are concerning and we would like to avoid them, so we are respectfully requesting that customers no longer openly carry firearms into our stores or Sam's Clubs in states where 'open carry' is permitted - unless they are authorized law enforcement officers."
Walmart will continue to sell shotguns and rifles, as well as some types of ammunition.
While some praised Walmart for the change, including March For Our Lives, many also called for further action by Congress. Democratic presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Beto O'Rourke, and Joe Biden said that more must be done to end gun violence.
Many conservative media figures were also unhappy with the decision, and many openly criticized Walmart, including the National Rifle Association.
In a statement on Twitter, the NRA said "lines at Walmart will soon be replaced by lines at other retailers who are more supportive of America's fundamental freedoms."
Walmart has no plans to cease all gun sales, as it has a long history of serving the hunting community.
Walmart shares are up roughly 24% year-to-date.
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