Ahead of the election on Nov. 3, Walmart has removed all guns and ammunition from displays in its United States locations. The company said they are prepared for potential “social unrest” related to the election. They said they wanted to avoid any “potential theft of firearms.”
In the U.S., the company has 4,752 Walmart stores and 599 Sam’s Clubs.
In a statement, the company reflected on social unrest and riots in recent years. After the police shooting and death of George Floyd, there were protests across the nation. Several of these protests turned violent in areas, resulting in mass looting and burning of buildings. Additionally, CBS reported Philadelphia has experienced several violent demonstrations after a police shooting involving a black man, Walter Wallace Jr.
“We have seen some isolated civil unrest and as we have done on several occasions over the last few years. We have moved our firearms and ammunition off the sales floor as a precaution for the safety of our associates and customers,” Walmart said in a statement.
Walmart Also Removed Ammunition and Guns in the Wake of George Floyd’s Death
In 2016, nation-wide protests erupted after Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton for the presidency. According to USA TODAY, some of those protests turned violent with protesters throwing objects at police officers.
CBS reported that the store took similar measures in June following the death of Floyd. The company removed guns and ammunition from the sales floor as a precaution against looting as a result. Walmart said guns and ammunition remain available to purchase.
“These items do remain available for purchase by customers,” Walmart said. The statement also noted, “We only sell firearms in approximately half of our stores, primarily where there are large concentrations of hunters, sportsmen, and sportswomen.”
Walmart operates 4,752 stores under the Walmart name in the United States, along with 599 Sam’s Club locations.