Walmart is one of the largest sellers of guns and ammunition in the world, though they won’t disclose their exact numbers. The retail giant is alone among its major competitors in selling firearms, so their main competitors are sporting goods stores, none of which move anywhere close to as much merchandise.
In recent years, they’ve begun restricting those sales. After the Parkland shooting in February, 2018, they opted to require buyers to be over 21. In 2015, they stopped the sale of military-style weapons, and in some states, they only sell handguns.
On Saturday, August 3, a domestic terrorist chose the Walmart in El Paso, Texas as his killing ground. He killed 22 people and injured 26 more, including two Walmart employees.
Now, the employees at the top of Walmart’s ladder are pushing for the giant to stop selling guns altogether. The corporate employees in the mega corp’s offices in Oregon and California are planning a walkout that may become a strike—despite not having a union.
“There’s an intense irony that Walmart continues to sell guns despite the constant shootings in its stores,” said Kate Kesner, an organizer of the walkout and a possible-former employee of the California office. (Kesner has not officially been dismissed as of today, August 7, but alleges her work accounts have been disabled).
Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove has been urging employees to use official paths of communication instead of a walkout. He says the “vast majority” of associates have been using email and in-person discussion with company leadership to make their views known, and claims he knows of only one or two people intending to walk out. Contrastingly, Kesner maintains that hundreds have agreed to join her.
Walmart’s official statement, made the day after the shooting, is that they are not currently planning any further changes to their firearms policies.
“Our focus has always been on being a responsible seller of firearms,” said Hargrove in an interview. “We go beyond federal law requiring all customers to pass a background check before purchasing any firearm.”