Aug. 8 (UPI) -- Walmart said it has no plans to stop selling guns or ammunition amid a protest started by two of its employees to rally people to pressure the retail giant.
Thomas Marshall and Kate Kesner started their campaign aiming to get their employer to rethink selling weapons after a gunman walked into the Walmart in El Paso, Texas, and started a shooting rampage. The gunman, who was arrested at the scene, killed 20 people; two others died later.
Marshall created a Change.org page for supporters to sign, asking Walmart to stop gun sales. The petition mentioned the El Paso shooting, along with another at the Walmart in the suburban Memphis on July 30 where two people were killed.
The petition, which had more than 44,000 signatures early Thursday, called for an employee walkout on Wednesday. It was not clear how many participated.
Marshall said he expected employees in Portland, Ore., and Jet.com's office in Hoboken, N.J., to be involved. Jet.com is owned by Walmart. Employees in San Bruno, Calif., and Brooklyn also participated.
"As associates, we can and must leverage our power and ability to change our company for the better," the petition reads. "We have one demand, and that is all. We value Walmart and our fellow associates, but we are no longer willing to contribute our labor to a company that profits from the sale of deadly weapons."
Marshall and Kesner, who work for Walmart in San Bruno, lost access to the work email and Slack messaging accounts they had used to rally support. But Walmart representative Randy Hargrove said both were still employed.
"There's been no change to our policy regarding firearms," Hargrove told NBC News. "Our focus has been on our associates and the entire El Paso community.
"There are many more constructive ways to share views and the vast majority of store associates take advantage of those avenues," he said.