Walmart Announces New Gun Policies, Stock Prices Hit All-Time High
By now, unfortunately, you are probably familiar with the typical responses to each new report of a mass shooting. On one side, there is a vocal contingent of politicians, concerned parents, and others pushing for stricter gun control laws while on the other side, there is an equally vocal group that insists that new laws are both unnecessary and possibly in violation of the Second Amendment to U.S. Constitution. Regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum, there is little question that mass shootings are tragic events that must be taken seriously.
To at least one major retailer, taking gun violence seriously means making dramatic changes to its policies regarding the sale of certain firearms and ammunition. In my practice as a business law attorney, I have advised many business owners regarding decisions that could potentially alienate a substantial portion of their customer base. With this in mind, I am especially interested to see how Walmart customers across the country respond to the Arkansas-based retail giant’s new gun policies. Investors, it seems, have reacted favorably, at least for now.
No More Handguns or Handgun Ammunition
Earlier this week, Walmart announced that it will no longer be selling “short-barrel rifle ammunition” in any of its U.S. Walmart or Sam’s Club stores. Handgun ammunition will also be eliminated from the retailer’s inventory. Walmart also said that it will end the sales of handguns in Alaska, the only remaining state in which the company sells handguns.
The retailer plans to continue selling shotguns and long-barrel rifles intended for hunting and sport shooting, along with a range of ammunition or such firearms. Doug McMillon, the CEO of Walmart, told employees in a memo, “It’s clear to us that the status quo is no longer acceptable.” McMillon, who is self-proclaimed gun owner, indicated that recent shootings in El Paso, Midland, and Odessa, Texas, as well as the shooting in Dayton, Ohio, prompted the changes. The El Paso shooting occurred at a Walmart store.
Walmart is also asking customers in open-carry states to refrain from carrying firearms openly in Walmart and Sam’s Club stores. The company is not asking concealed carry permit holders to make any changes to where and when they carry a firearm.
Public and Market Reactions
Walmart’s announcement was met with support by proponents of stricter gun laws. Gun rights advocates expressed their displeasure with the changes. With Walmart poised to give up a significant part of its share in the ammunition and firearms markets, many wondered how investors would take the news.
On Wednesday, one day after the retailer’s announcement, Walmart share prices jumped a full 1 percent to $115.96 per share—an all-time high. By the time the market closed, prices had dropped a few cents but remained around $115.90. It remains to be seen if the higher prices are sustainable.
Call a DuPage County Business Lawyer for Help
Business owners face many challenges every day, including having to make decisions that could upset customers. If you are facing such a decision for your company, contact an experienced Naperville business law attorney to get the guidance you need. Call 630-756-1160 to schedule a confidential consultation at the Gierach Law Firm today.