According to data provided by the nonprofit group, Gun Violence Archive, there have been 283 mass shootings this year.  Mass shooting is defined as one in which four people were shot, excluding the shooter.

Last week, America’s largest retailer, Walmart announced they were going to scale back gun and ammunition sales. 

Walmart says they have been discussing ways they could contribute to reducing gun-violence in this country and decided to make the changes.

On Aug. 3, there was a mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas where 22 people were killed.  On July 30 at a Walmart store in Mississippi a former employee shot and killed two workers.

Walmart released a statement explaining their decision.

“We understand our heritage, our deeply rooted place in America and our influence as the world’s largest retailer.  And we understand the responsibility that comes with it.  In a complex situation lacking a simple solution, we are trying to reduce the risk that events like these will happen.  The status quo is unacceptable.”

Walmart stores will no longer sell handgun ammunition, or short-barrel rifle ammunition used for hunting rifles as well as military-style weapons.

The retailer stopped selling military-style rifles, which are a favorite choice of mass shooters in 2015.

It will continue selling long-barrel deer rifles and shotguns as well as other firearms and ammunition for hunting and sports shooting.

Alaska was the only location where handguns were still being sold but that will end with the new policy.

Walmart went a step farther and changed their policy on customers wearing their guns in the stores.

The retailer said they are “respectfully requesting that gun owners not open-carry in its stores regardless of a state’s open-carry policy.”  It won’t affect customers who have permits for concealed carry.

It is no surprise that the changes in Walmart’s gun policy have many customers up in arms.

One-gun advocate announced that Walmart just “shot itself in the foot.”

Another claimed the policy would make customers defenseless when another gunman shoots up a Walmart.

There is even a #boycott Walmart movement trending.

The NRA slammed Walmart’s changes to its gun policies as “shameful” and predicts loss of income to other retailers who are “more supportive of America’s fundamental freedoms.”

Opponents say the changes will do nothing to stop gun violence and mass shootings.  They contend that gun-control legislation should be considered based on whether it will protect constitutional rights, effectively deter crime and prevent the actions that occur with reckless gun ownership.

After it was revealed that Walmart was considering changes to their gun policies, executives say gun rights advocates attempted to persuade them not to make any changes by showing up at Walmart locations carrying guns on their hips.  They say workers and customers were frightened.

A few days after the El Paso and Dayton shootings a man walked into a Missouri Walmart in a bullet proof vest carrying a rifle, a handgun, and 100 rounds of ammunition.  He was arrested on Terrorism related charges.  He said he was testing his second amendment rights.

Walmart has become proactive in their approach and offers active shooter training for all employees.

Since the announcement from Walmart, other stores have followed suit.  Kroger is asking customers not to display their firearms in stores located in open-carry states.  Starbucks, Target, Wendy’s, and Walgreens and CVS are now asking customers not to openly display guns when visiting their stores.

Walmart executives say they want Congress to open the debate on banning assault weapons and stronger background checks for gun sales, calling them, “common sense” issues.

President Trump had briefly talked up the possibility of expanding background checks after the El Paso and Dayton shootings.  He reportedly dropped the idea after a phone call from the chief executive of the NRA.

It is ludicrous that we are required to wear a shirt and shoes to shop in stores, but you can carry a loaded weapon around like it is nothing.

Experts say there is no evidence that open carry makes society safer.  There is, however, solid evidence that carrying firearms in public increases aggression and gun violence.  It forces people in public to evaluate the mental state and intent of the armed individual.  That’s something most of us aren’t equipped to do.

Requiring the public and law-enforcement to guess whether people are simply exercising their second amendment right or planning a mass shooting could qualify as the definition of insanity.

Maybe the choice to try and make customers feel safer has absolutely nothing to do with politics.  Regardless of their motives, these retailers are to be commended for their decision. 

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