Walmart’s business decision on guns came too little, too late

Shamontiel L. Vaughn
Sep 15 · 5 min read
Photo credit: jimarojfm/Pixabay

I have only shopped at Walmart one time since 2010. After a particularly unpleasant experience in their auto department, I returned to my tried and true auto maintenance company. And I already had two favorite grocery stores, so Walmart wasn’t a franchise I depended on for household needs. But when other people who also don’t shop at Walmart heard the news about the franchise banning customers from openly carrying firearms around, a few minds were changed. Maybe they’d give Walmart a chance. I’m not. Here’s why.

Too many other shootings should have been the reason why

A casual glance at this Vox map looks like somebody picked up a bucket of red paint and just flung it at the United States of America. The southern and east coasts took an especially hard hit from the paint can.

Photo credit: ArtTower/Pixabay

According to CNN and Washington Post, from 1949 to now, these are some of the deadliest shootings:

  • 1991: George Hennard crashed his pickup truck into Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas, and shot 23 people.
  • 2012: Adam Lanza is responsible for 27 people killed, including 20 children between the ages of six and seven from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
  • 2015: Dylann Roof is responsible for nine people killed at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
  • 2016: Omar Saddiqui Mateen is responsible for 49 people killed at an LGBTQI nightclub, Pulse, in Orlando, Florida.
  • 2017: Stephen Paddock is responsible for 58 people killed at a concert in Las Vegas, Nevada, after gunfire was sprayed across 22,000 attendees.
  • 2017: Seung-Hui Cho is responsible for 32 people killed at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.
  • 2017: Devin Patrick Kelley is responsible for 25 people killed, plus an unborn child, at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
  • 2019: Patrick Crusius is responsible for killing 22 people in a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, and was reportedly affiliated with white nationalist and anti-immigrant documentation.

I could keep going down the list of shootings in El, Paso Texas; Parkland, Florida; Littleton, Colorado; San Ysidro, California and more. But my bigger issue is why weren’t any of these 25 or so other shootings enough to make Walmart stop selling ammunition and firearms? Why did it have to take 22 deaths and 25 injuries in an actual Walmart store for this franchise to finally ask shoppers to not come in locked and loaded?

Walmart’s problematic hunting, hand gun and semi-automatic sales history

I spent two years living in a hunting town. The residents were so obsessed with guns that hunting even came up on my college syllabus. I’m not impressed. I’ve debated countless gun owners, one of which is pretty famous and told me during an interview that my anti-gun views were from a “slave mentality.” (He also argued with me about embracing the n-word, so we were at odds through about one-fourth of the interview.)

Photo credit: analogicus/Pixabay

I’m not budging. I honestly couldn’t care less about hunters losing out on their firearms and ammunition. I’m not even slightly sympathetic about whining regarding background checks, especially considering the frustration to get a simple Real ID. I’m indifferent regarding the founder of Walmart, Sam Walton, being an avid hunter who loved to kill quail. And I truly couldn’t give a damn about Walmart’s headquarters being found in a duck hunting and deer hunting state. Take notes from Fayetteville, where it’s illegal to kill any living creature. If the founder was determined to have door greeters in store entrances, how about life greeters all over the stores?

After college graduation, I spent eight months working for Walmart and many years shopping there before and after undergrad. But I have always found their views on weaponry to be problematic. In all fairness, they have made a few smart decisions:

  • In 1993, Walmart stopped selling handguns in the U.S. — minus Alaska.
  • In 2015, Walmart stopped selling semi-automatic weapons (ex. AR-15 rifle). However, this was due to low purchase demand, not morals.
  • In 2018, after the Parkland shooting, Walmart stopped selling firearms and ammunition to people under the age of 21.

But I still go back to my original concern: Why are you selling ammunition at all? That 2 percent of the market for firearms and 20 percent of ammunition should be zero.

The National Rifle Association should not be the judge on what’s “shameful”

While the NRA criticized Walmart’s move to stop selling ammunition as “shameful,” this gun-toting organization is also the one that was stone cold silent when Philando Castile was murdered by Officer Jeronimo Yanez in front of his 4-year-old daughter and girlfriend. This is not an organization that particularly cares about all law-abiding gun owners — specifically those with melanin.

Photo credit: 13smok/Pixabay

I still struggle to understand why someone needs to carry their guns around while shopping for milk and bananas. What level of insecurities and manchild behavior must you be drowning in to need to carry weapons wherever you go? Hell, I’m still baffled by the no-gun stickers on Chicago Public Libraries, and we’re not even an open-carry state. While the rest of the Walmart shoppers can continue to support this store, I’d rather shop elsewhere — “slave mentality” and all.

Shamontiel L. Vaughn

Written by

14-year journalist; freelance writer/editor (Upwork); Wag! dog walker; Rover dog sitter; Toastmasters VPPR & member; cohost of Do Not Submit;

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