In 1996, Walmart banned the sale of a Sheryl Crow album in all its stores because of lyrics suggesting the discount retail store sold guns to children. Twenty-three years and two mass shootings within its stores later, Walmart has finally gotten around to doing the absolute bare minimum to help curb the epidemic of American gun violence by banning the sale of some—not all—ammunition and asking its patrons not to “openly” carry guns in the aisles of Walmart.
The move comes just as a recent company memo reveals that Walmart execs have seemingly only recently discovered customers may be using the bullets sold in its stores as ammunition for firearms:
“‘After selling through our current inventory commitments, we will discontinue sales of short-barrel rifle ammunition such as the .223 caliber and 5.56 caliber that, while commonly used in some hunting rifles, can also be used in large capacity clips on military-style weapons,’” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in a memo to employees on Tuesday.”
And while customers can still carry concealed weapons in Walmart, presumably unarmed store managers will now have to tell customers openly carrying guns to leave—now that gun-toting shoppers are causing panics as customers “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,” according to the memo. The company will also stop selling handguns in Alaska, the only state where its stores sell handguns and recently stopped selling AR-15s nationwide.
According to Business Insider, Walmart is responsible for 2 percent of all firearm sales in the U.S. and 2o percent of all total ammunition sales nationwide. Ceasing to sell some types of ammo in an effort to focus on only selling bullets to people who pinky-swear they’ll only shoot deer and not people might mean that Walmart will now only supply 9 percent of the ammunition in America. Not to mention what McMillon calls the “inconvenience” to its customers:
“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 execs have sent letters to Washington in the wake of the 24 shooting deaths in its stores advocating for stronger background checks—awfully rich coming from a company that paid out a two million dollar settlement in 1998 for selling bullets to children who then murdered a man with them.
Meanwhile, that Sheryl Crow album is still not for sale in brick and mortar WalMart locations and is available on the company’s website only through a third-party seller.