This week, Walmart Inc, which operates the largest supermarket chain in the United States, removed firearms and ammunition from American store shelves in a bid to protect customers and employees amid rising tensions in the country. This is stated in a statement released on Thursday by the press service of the world’s largest retail chain.
The move was taken a few days before the US presidential election. Many fear that the election results could be challenged and overshadowed by outbreaks of violence.
“We have witnessed several civil unrest and, as we have done several times over the past few years, have removed firearms and ammunition from sales areas as a safety precaution for our partners and customers,” said a Walmart spokesman. He added that the company cannot yet say when weapons and ammunition will reappear on store shelves.
Firearms are sold in about half of the more than 5,000 Walmart supermarkets in the US. At the same time, the retailer will continue to sell weapons at the request of buyers, the statement said.
Retail store owners have been on the alert since the beginning of this year – during the riots, rioters smashed shop windows, stole goods and even set fire to stores in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Portland and other major cities. Another worrying trend is that US arms sales hit a record high this year. More and more people are buying firearms in recent months.
In June, Walmart removed firearms and ammunition from shelves in selected stores amid nationwide protests over the death of unarmed African American George Floyd, who died in police custody in late May.
Last year, the retailer stopped selling pistol ammunition and some assault rifles in all of its US stores. In the past, Walmart has also called for increased background checks on gun buyers and the seizure of existing weapons from people who could pose a threat to those around them.