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Who is Walmart trying to please with its new gun policies?

Conservative Review

The following is an excerpt from Blaze Media’s daily Capitol Hill Brief email newsletter:

We’re still not sure what kind of gun control Congress will try to force on us when legislators come back to town, but Walmart has already decided to take action on its own. The retail giant announced yesterday that it will stop selling ammunition for handguns and “military-style” rifles and focus instead on hunting rifles and corresponding ammunition, in response to recent shootings.

The CEO also said that Walmart is now asking customers to stop open carrying firearms in the stores. However, a Walmart representative later clarified to Blaze Media, this doesn’t amount to an open carry ban, and store managers are going to be given a lot of discretion about how the new policy is enforced. The company also urged lawmakers to pass new gun control and even revisit the 1994 “assault weapons” ban.

But will this actually do anything to affect gun violence, or just give a massive shot in the arm to local gun shops who still sell what Walmart won’t? "Whether it will be impactful on the overall issue in the country, it's very difficult to say," former Walmart CEO Bill Simon said of the policy change. "It’s such a divisive issue, there’s part of the country that will cheer it, and a good portion that will not. It’s tough as a retailer to have to take a position on those things, but when action happens like happened in El Paso, I think they’re left with no choice."

However, if it’s not clear that the move will prevent any violence, it remains unclear what kind of fruit Walmart’s leaders expect it to bear. Dick’s Sporting Goods is still in the process of learning that anti-gun messaging isn’t good for business in the sporting goods world, and one has to wonder just how much business Walmart stands to lose from disaffected Second Amendment supporters in both sporting goods and other department sales in the near future.

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