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Walmart to end some ammo sales, 'open carry' in stores after El Paso shooting

By
Danielle Haynes
Police respond to a mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, on August 3. Photo by Justin Hamel/UPI
Police respond to a mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, on August 3. Photo by Justin Hamel/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 3 (UPI) -- Walmart announced Tuesday it will stop selling certain styles of ammunition nationwide -- one month after a shooting at a West Texas Walmart location killed nearly two dozen people.

Under the new rules, the company said it would sell off its current inventory and discontinue sales of handgun ammunition and short-barrel rifle ammunition, such as the .222 caliber and 5.56 caliber, which can be used in some hunting rifles and large-capacity clips for military-style weapons.

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Walmart also said it's discontinuing handgun sales in Alaska, the last state where the company still sold them.

"Our immediate priorities were supporting our associates and the impacted families and cooperating with law enforcement. In parallel, we have been focused on store safety and security," the company said in a statement.

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"We've also been listening to a lot of people inside and outside our company as we think about the role we can play in helping to make the country safer. It's clear to us that the status quo is unacceptable."

Before Tuesday's announcement, Walmart had restricted its sales of firearms and ammunition, limiting sales of handguns and military-style guns like the AR-15, raising the age limit for firearm and ammunition sales to 21, requiring a "green light" on federal background checks, and visually recording firearms sales.

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In addition to restricting sales, Walmart said it's "respectfully requesting that customers no longer openly carry firearms into our stories or Sam's Clubs in states where 'open carry' is permitted -- unless they are authorized law enforcement officers."

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"We believe the opportunity for someone to misinterpret a situation, even in open carry states, could lead to tragic results. We hope that everyone will understand the circumstances that led to this new policy and will respect the concerns of their fellow shoppers and our associates."

Twenty-two people were killed Aug. 3 when a single gunman armed with a AK-47-style semi-automatic rifle walked into an El Paso Walmart and opened fire. Two dozen others were injured. The gunman told police he bought the weapon from Romania and the ammunition from Russia.

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