Major retailers ask customers not to open-carry following recent mass shootings


COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The world’s largest brick-and-mortar retailer made a big announcement this week as the discussion about gun violence grows louder and louder.

Walmart announced it is stopping the sale of short-barrel and handgun ammunition and asking customers not to openly carry guns inside their stores. The changes come just one month after a mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, in which 22 people were killed and 24 others were injured.

The move brought mixed reviews from customers here in Ohio. Some said it’s a step in the right directions, but others believe it is just a publicity stunt.

“This is a great move toward keeping people safe and reducing the access,” Richele O’Connor, from the group Moms Demand Action, said.

“They’re trying to do the right thing, at least it’s headed that way,” Walmart customer Susan Lilly told NBC4’s Danielle Avitable. “Hopefully it will work.”

However, other customers think differently.

“It’s our Constitutional right,” customer Kathleen Bullock said.

O’Connor said this change is going to make a difference since it is limiting the access.

“We are so glad that Walmart is joining other companies and taking this very important step and hopefully the Senate will follow suit,” O’Connor said.

However, she said there is still more to be done.

“We need to pass red flag laws, we need to pass background check laws,” O’Connor said.

On the other hand, James Irvine with the Buckeye Firearms Association doesn’t think Walmart’s move will prevent shootings since other stores still carry ammunition.

“They are readily available in other places and the people who are going to commit murder are going to do whatever they have to do to do it,” Irvine said.

It’s something some customers agree with.

“People are going to get them regardless. Get them off the street easier,” Lilly said.

As the big box store aims to reduce gun violence, Irvine said he doesn’t believe this is the way to do it.

“To me, if you care about human life and you care about your employees and care about your customers, rather than pretending to do something that makes someone feel good, you should work harder at solutions that prevent stuff or mitigate it,” Irvine said.

Walmart also plans to stop all handgun sales in Alaska.

The National Rifle Association called Walmart’s decision “shameful.” In a statement, the NRA said the chain’s actions “will not make us any safer. Rather than place blame in the criminal, Walmart has chosen to victimize law-abiding Americans. Our leaders must be willing to approach the problems of crime, violence and mental health with sincerity.”

The company isn’t the only business taking action. Kroger has also asked customers not to carry guns into its stores. Store executives from the Cincinnati-based chain said they will also call on lawmakers to pass gun reform laws, like closing background check loopholes. Kroger has not announced how it plans to enforce the request.

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