Stores have recently taken it upon themselves to limit the growing gun violence. Walmart, America’s largest retailer, officially announced they will attempt to reduce its gun and ammunition sales Sept. 3.
Walmart stated that it will no longer sell handgun ammunition and short-barrel rifle ammunition, which can be used in military-style weapons and hunting rifles, as well as ban handguns in Alaska, the only state where Walmart sells handguns. The mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, were major reasons that led the retailer to restrict its ammunition sales, according to Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, a gun owner himself. In addition, Walmart is encouraging its customers to refrain from carrying weapons into its stores, even in states that allow openly carried weapons.
As of now, Walmart has approximately 20% market share of ammunition sales nationally. By implementing its ammunition improvisions the retailer hopes to reduce its ammunition market share to 9% or less.
Although Walmart’s effort to reduce gun violence is a step forward, it is not exactly clear how big of a step this is toward limiting gun purchases in the United States. Walmart is accountable for only 2% of U.S. firearm purchases and only half of its stores actually sell firearms, according to the Associated Press.
Guns can be purchased in a bundle of places, such as gun shows, stores, online and even from your neighbor, with little to no background checks at all.
Tens of thousands of gun buyers prefer to buy guns at gun shows due to the “gun show loophole.” This term refers to the fact that the majority of the states do not have laws that require any form of background checks for firearms sold or traded at gun shows by private individuals. Only nine states – California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Rhode Island – have laws that require background checks for any gun transfer.
Other large retailers, such as Target, Starbucks, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Kroger have joined Walmart in banning ammunition and gun sales, but the real issue with facilitated gun access is found in the 4,000 and more gun shows and hundreds of gun shops in the country.
The right to bear arms is an idea that our founding fathers brought to this country in order to protect themselves and their loved ones. However, in no circumstance should the right to bear arms be used to kill and hurt masses of innocent people. We must understand the limit we have to this amendment and we must acknowledge and accept that we are not doing enough, as American citizens, to end gun violence.