Following a mass shooting that claimed 22 lives Saturday at a Walmart store (WMT) in El Paso, Texas, the company has chosen not to alter its policies on gun sales despite public pressure.
"We are focused on supporting our associates, our customers and the entire El Paso community", spokesman Randy Hargrove told AFP.
At least 20 people were killed while 24 others suffered injuries on Saturday after a man opened fire at its stores in Texas on Saturday, days after a displeased employee killed shot dead two colleagues and a police officer in its store in Mississippi.
In a statement citing the Parkland shooting, Walmart said it would raise age restrictions for the purchase of firearms and ammo to 21 years of age. Walmart also tweeted that the company is "in shock" and is "praying for the victims, the community and our associates, as well as the first responders".
"This is done exclusively on what customer demand was", company spokesman Kory Lundberg told Reuters of the decision to stop selling MSR's in 2015. It's unclear what next steps Walmart will take on the matter of gun sales and security.
Two Walmart employees were injured in the El Paso shooting. It stopped selling assault-style weapons in 2015.
"Walmart has a history of moving in the right direction, but what happened in El Paso shows they need to go further", executive director Igor Volsky, said. At the time, however, Walmart adamantly denied that the policy changes had been in response to the uptick in high-profile mass shooting incidents in recent years (the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting which occurred in 2012 was carried out by a gunman with an MSR).
"A lot of us are on edge", the 48-year-old said.
- Im_The_Dude_Man (@ImTheDudeMan1) August 4, 2019How many Walmart shootings will it take for you to stop selling guns?
"Our focus has been on being a responsible seller of firearms, and we have policies and guidelines that are within federal and state laws and even exceed them", Hargrove said.
The company's founder Sam Walton loved guns so much so that he named a hunting rifle after him. Walmart did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.
Outdoor goods chains including Bass Pro Shops, Gander Outdoors and Academy Sports continue to sell assault-style rifles.
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