(Natural News) Walmart announced on Thursday, Oct. 29, that it would no longer be displaying any of its guns and ammunition on the sales floors in all of its U.S. stores for the rest of the week, citing their desire to prevent any potential thieves and looters from stealing their firearms if the store is broken into by a violent mob during a period of civil unrest.
“We have seen some isolated civil unrest, and as we have done on several occasions over the last few years, we have moved our firearms and ammunition off the sales floor as a precaution for the safety of our associates and customers, said a spokesperson for Walmart in an email to CBS News. The company also emphasized that they will continue selling firearms and ammunition, but potential customers will have to ask for them personally.
Walmart sells firearms and ammunition in around half of its more than 4,700 stores in the United States.
The decision to pull the guns and ammo from the shelves was made on Wednesday through a letter distributed to store managers, ordering them to pull the guns “due to the current unrest in isolated areas of the country and out of an abundance of caution.”
This is not the first time that Walmart has amended its policies regarding the sale of guns. It stopped selling handguns in the 1990s in all of its stores except those located in Alaska.
In 2015, the company stopped selling “assault-style rifles,” and in 2018, the company raised the minimum age people are allowed to purchase firearms at their store to 21 after the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Florida.
Last year, they finally banned the sale of handguns in Alaska. They also stopped selling .223 caliber ammunition and other ammunition types that can be used for handguns and semiautomatic rifles. This decision was made after two shooting incidents at two of its stores in Texas and Mississippi.
Despite the backlash, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said that the company’s current policies would remain in place, and they will focus on selling guns and ammunition for hunters and sport shooters.
Gun sales continue to rise despite Walmart’s temporary ban on displaying guns and ammunition
Despite removing firearms and ammunition from public displays, demand for guns has continued to skyrocket this year, according to a measurement of background checks conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade association representing the gun industry, from January to July over 12 million background checks for gun purchases were conducted. During the same time last year, there were only 7.1 million background checks for gun sales. (Related: Empty shelves, empty gun racks: Ammo and gun sales up 139%, stores having difficulty keeping up with surging demand.)
Small Arms Analytics, a firearms analytics company that produces estimates of U.S. gun sales, believes that nearly 17 million guns have been sold across the nation from January to September. Jurgen Brauer, the company’s chief economist, said that this doesn’t just break last year’s record, but it also represents the most sales the company has ever tallied for the past 20 years that they have records for.
While gun sales are booming, the stocks of gun companies are also on the rise. The shares of Smith & Wesson and Vista Outdoor have doubled since March. For Sturm, Ruger & Co, they’re up by 30 percent. All of their stocks are continuing to increase as the date of the election looms ever closer.
The increase in gun sales is motivated by concerns regarding the possibility of civil unrest. The gun stocks, on the other hand, are concerned over the prospects of the Democratic Party sweeping the elections on Nov. 3 and introducing stricter gun laws.
There is no hard data regarding the number of Americans buying guns for the first time this year, but advocates believe that a vast majority of the guns would be sold to new gun owners. Some gun and ammo retailers, like Jake Felde, CEO of Lucky Gunner, estimates that about 75 percent of his customers are first-time gun buyers.
Learn more about how current events are influencing the gun policies and stances of companies and politicians alike by reading the latest articles regarding firearms at SecondAmendment.news.