Walmart REVERSES demand to strip guns from shelves a day after ordering their removal over election 'civil unrest' fearsOctober 31, 2020
WALMART has suddenly flipped its order to strip guns and ammunition from shelves just a DAY after demanding their removal over election “civil unrest” fears.
Demand for firearms has skyrocketed this year, with the National Guard on patrol and shops being boarded up in anticipation of violence flaring.
Walmart Inc removed firearms and ammunition from store floors to protect customers and staff as tensions rise across the country, the world’s largest retailer said on Thursday.
The move came days before the US presidential election on November 3, with many worried that the result could be contested or spark violence.
“We have seen some isolated civil unrest.
"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,” a Walmart spokesman said.
But, one day later Walmart changed its stance and announced stores could restock guns and ammo.
On Friday the firm confirmed the stripped items had been restored to displays because the unrest has remained isolated.
The U-turn comes after several days of protests, vandalism, and an overnight curfew in Philadelphia after cops fatally shot a black man with a history of mental health problems.
“After civil unrest earlier this week resulted in damage to several of our stores, we asked stores to move firearms and ammunition from the sales floor to a secure location in the back of the store in an abundance of caution.
“As the current incidents have remained geographically isolated, we have made the decision to begin returning these products to the sales floor today," Walmart announced.
The retailer, based in Bentonville, Arkansas, sells firearms from about half of its 5,000 stores.
Retailers have been on edge after raiders earlier this year smashed windows, stole merchandise and, at times, set stores ablaze in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Portland and other cities.
Fearing the worse, companies are installing reinforced glass and hiring security guards as they expect a surge in “civil unrest”, say reports.
Police in New York City and other major metropolitan areas say they have prepared for emergency scenarios around the election, from demonstrations to bombs.
Law enforcement throughout America, which has warned of potential violence around the November 3 vote, must prepare for looming danger.
This could range from spontaneous acts of violence to more organized, planned attacks, according to officials.
Authorities also face threats from lone actors to extremist groups, including those that are racially motivated, anti-authority and militias.
In an another trend that has fed concern, gun sales in the United States this year have reached record highs, and more first-time buyers have obtained firearms over recent months.
In June, Walmart pulled firearms and ammunition from some American sales stores amid nationwide protests over the death of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, at the hands of police in late May.
Last year, the retailer stopped selling ammunition for handguns and some assault-style rifles.
It has also in the past called for a strengthening of background checks for gun buyers and action to take guns out of the hands of those who pose a risk of violence.
Walmart has been the scene of numerous shootings – some fatal – over the past year.
In February this year two police officers were shot in a Walmart in Arkansas by a suspect who cops said was threatening to blow up the store.
Twisted gunman Patrick Crusius used an AK47-type weapon to gun down parents and kids in a packed Walmart in El Paso, Texas last year.
And an off-duty police officer allegedly fired 11 rounds at a man who was suspected of stealing a barbecue grill from Walmart in Oklahoma in July this year.
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