Doug McMillon, Walmart Inc.’s chief executive, is rethinking the company’s role in confronting gun violence after two deadly shootings at Walmart stores, but didn’t offer specific plans or changes to its firearms and ammunition sales, the Wall Street Journal reports. “We will work to understand the many important issues that arise from El Paso and Southaven [Ms.], as well as those that have been raised in the broader national discussion around gun violence,” McMillon wrote in a Facebook post. “We will be thoughtful and deliberate in our responses.” McMillon spent Tuesday in El Paso meeting with employees who worked at the store where 22 people were killed in Saturday’s attack. Last week, in Southaven, a Walmart employee who had been suspended the previous weekend shot and killed two other workers at a company’s store.
The retail giant is facing pressure from some employees and antigun activists to halt its sales of firearms or prohibit shoppers from carrying guns in stores. Walmart is one of the biggest U.S. gun sellers. The retailer’s selection is focused on hunting rifles and shotguns. Since 2015, it hasn’t sold assault-style weapons and sells handguns only in Alaska. Last year, after a deadly shooting at a Parkland, Fl., high school, Walmart raised the minimum age to purchase guns or ammunition to 21. Two Walmart workers in San Bruno, Ca., have circulated a message to all e-commerce staff and the companywide Slack channel calling for a general strike to protest “Walmart’s profit from the sale of guns.” The company then suspended their access to its internal systems. Any change to its gun policies risks alienating Walmart’s core customers, who often live in more conservative-leaning rural and suburban communities. The company faced some consumer backlash after raising the minimum age to purchase guns to 21.