South Florida Democratic U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is hailing Walmart’s decision to reduce ammunition sales, and says it should inspire Congress to follow up with her like-minded legislation when they return to Washington following the August summer break next week.
The retail giant announced Tuesday that it will discontinue sales of short-barrel rifle ammunition. While used in some hunting rifles, the ammunition can also be used in large capacity clips on military-style weapons. Walmart will also discontinue selling all handgun ammunition after its existing supplies are depleted, and will discontinue handgun sales in Alaska, the last state in the country where the retail giant was still selling handguns.
The company also “respectfully” requested that customers no longer openly carry firearms into it’s stores or Sam’s Clubs in states where “open carry” is permitted, which is not the case in Florida.
The moves come a month after a shooter stormed a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, leaving 22 people dead and 26 others injured.
“Walmart took an important step today,” Wasserman Schultz said in a written statement. “More companies must follow suit and reevaluate their sale of ammunition, which is every bit as necessary for the operation of a firearm as the firearm itself. That’s why I worked with Fred Guttenberg and Senator Richard Blumenthal to introduce the bicameral Jaime’s Law in Congress, which would require background checks for ammunition purposes. Jaime’s Law would close the ‘ammo loophole’ that currently allows prohibited purchasers under federal law to purchase, no questions asked, ammunition without a background check. Every day we wait to enact reasonable gun safety measures we risk losing more lives.”
In his letter to Walmart associates published on the company’s website, CEO Doug McMillion also said that he wants congress to strengthen background checks and remove weapons from those determined to pose an imminent danger, better known as “red flag” laws. He also said Walmart doesn’t sell military-style rifles, and said that Congress should debate whether or not to reauthorize the assault weapons ban, which was Congress passed in 1994 – it expired in 2004.
The National Rifle Association released a statement following Walmart’s decision, calling it “shameful” to see the company “succumb to the pressure of the anti-gun elites.”
“Lines at Walmart will soon be replaced by lines at other retailers who are more supportive of America’s fundamental freedoms. The truth is Walmart’s actions today will not make us any safer. Rather than place the blame on 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 and honesty.”
Congress returns to Washington next Tuesday.