Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) one of the biggest sellers of guns and ammunition in the country, said earlier today it would stop selling semi-automatic rifles. Why? Because of the low demand. The retailer will now focus on selling hunting gear and sportsman firearms. Walmart CEO Douglas McMillon had hinted that the retailer would do this two months ago. Walmart said the move to stop selling them was not because of the recent shootings but because sales were low. One of the rifles pulled was involved in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 26 students and adults lost their lives. The retailer’s spokesman, Kory Lundberg, said this was done solely on customer demand. Lundberg revealed that they would stop selling a class of rifle called the modern sporting rifle, which includes the AR-15. He added that the rifle was sold in just a few of the 4,500 stores.
Was It Just The Demand?
The pulling of the rifles from the few stores came the same day two journalists were shot and killed in Virginia. The incident was recorded by the attacker and was posted on social media. Burt Flicking, a retail consultant, gave his thoughts on the move and said the company is listening to the public opinion on social issues. He doubts the move was done just because of the low demand, adding that sales of guns and ammunition in the US are solid at the moment. New York City’s Trinity Church recently asked the retailer to tighten the sales of high capacity guns. Trinity Church is glad to hear that Walmart is doing this. The National Shooting Sports Foundation said the demand for the pulled rifles is strong.
Modern Sporting Rifles are very popular among Americans and it is estimated that around 10 million have been sold since 1990. Michael Bazinet, a spokesman for the trade association, said that Walmar’s decision was based on what its top officials see as best for the retailer. Gun control groups have said in the past that the company makes it too easy for people to get these weapons. Seven years ago, the company agreed to stricter gun policies but two years later it extended its sales. Two years ago, the company declined an invitation from Obama to talk about guns and gun control. Representatives of the company later that year met with attorney general Eric Holder to talk about guns. But the company insists that the move was done just because there was little interest for the product.