Walmart Will Ask Customers Not to Openly Carry Guns, Stop Selling Certain Ammunition

Walmart says it will stop selling handgun and short-barrel rifle ammunition, while requesting that customers not openly carry firearms in its stores, even where state laws allow it.

The announcement comes just days after a mass shooting claimed seven lives in Odessa, and follows back-to-back shootings last month, one of them at a Walmart store.

The Bentonville, Arkansas-based discounter said Tuesday it will stop selling handgun ammunition as well as short-barrel rifle ammunition, such as the .223 caliber and 5.56 caliber used in military style weapons, after it runs out of its current inventory.

Groups that support gun restrictions applauded the move.

"Enough is enough. Too many people have died," said Heather Hoskinson, a leader of Moms Demand Action in Tarrant County. "We're thrilled that Walmart is acting to keep our communities safer."

Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn, a staunch gun rights advocate, said he supported Walmart's right to sell what it wanted, but opposed any new laws.

"That's their decision," he said. "We pass more laws, good people are going to follow those laws. Bad guys and evil people are simply not."

The retailer is further requesting that customers refrain from openly carrying firearms at its Walmart and Sam's Club stores unless they are law enforcement officers. However, it said that it won't be changing its policy for customers who have permits for concealed carry. Walmart said it would add signage in stores to inform customers of those changes.

"In a complex situation lacking a simple solution, we are trying to take constructive steps to reduce the risk that events like these will happen again," according to a memo by Walmart's CEO Doug McMillon circulated to employees Tuesday afternoon. "The status quo is unacceptable."

Texas Democratic lawmakers are calling on Governor Greg Abbott to call a special session to address the issue. The legislature isn’t scheduled to meet again until 2021.

Gun control advocates are also pressuring federal lawmakers to pass new gun laws when they meet again next week.

NBC 5's Scott Gordon contributed to this report.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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