Big box retailer Walmart is removing all guns and ammo from the sales floor ahead of Tuesday’s Presidential election.
The company is taking the precautionary measure to prevent the theft of firearms in the event that looting and rioting breaks out next week.
“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.
The retailer will not be discontinuing the sale of firearms and ammunition, but the goods will not be on display. “These items do remain available for purchase by customer,” the company assured.
Walmart has tapered off gun sales since the 1990s, when they stopped selling handguns in every state except Alaska, but last year the company announced they would discontinue sales in the northernmost state as well.
In the same statement the retailer said they would stop selling short barreled rifles and handgun ammunition, shifting their focus towards hunting rifles and shotguns.
“We have a long heritage as a company of serving responsible hunters and sportsmen and women, and we’re going to continue doing so,” said CEO Doug McMillon.
Last year’s decision came on the heels of major mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio and Odessa, Texas. Though the response was likely influenced by the El Paso gunman who killed 22 people inside of a Walmart store a month prior.
The National Rifle Organization slammed the retailer for the discontinuation of sales.
“The strongest defense of freedom has always been our free-market economy. It is shameful to see Walmart succumb to the pressure of the anti-gun elites. Lines at Walmart will soon be replaced by lines at other retailers who are more supportive of America’s fundamental freedoms. The truth is Walmart’s actions today will not make us any safer. Rather than place the blame on the criminal, Walmart has chosen to victimize law-abiding Americans,” the association remarked.
Walmart has been a popular target for looters during this summer’s riots. A Philadelphia Walmart was vandalized as recently as this week.