Walmart backtracks on removing all guns, ammunition from U.S. stores in preparation for election

The retail giant only sells guns in half of its stores, and both can still be purchased, only upon customer request.

Walmart has backtracked on their decision to remove all guns and ammunition from sales floors and displays across the nation just one day after announcing the news.

The company released a statement on the reversal on Friday afternoon.

“After civil unrest earlier this week resulted in damage to several of our stores, consistent with actions we took over the summer, 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,” a statement read per Business Insider.

The retail giant only sells guns in half of its stores, and customers can still purchase guns and ammunition, only upon request. 

Citing the potential for civil unrest in the wake of the Nov. 3 elections, Walmart is removing all guns and ammunition from sales floors and displays in all of its stores across the nation. (Photo by Newsmakers)

Gun sales have soared in the U.S. since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic this year, and they spiked this summer at the height of racial justice protests across the country. 

More than 17 million guns have been purchased this year, more than any other single year in American history. 

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“By August, we had exceeded last year’s total. By September, we exceeded the highest total ever,” Jurgen Brauer, the chief economist of Small Arms Analytics, told The Guardian

African Americans and women have also been fueling gun sales among first-time gun buyers. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which tracks gun sales and analyzes gun trends, firearm sales are up 58 percent among Black Americans. 

“We’ve never seen a year-over-year increase that large in African-American gun buyers,” Oliva told CNN Business. “It is the largest demographic increase we’ve seen.”

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“People that are buying guns today look a whole lot less like me and a whole lot more like the rest of America,” added Oliva, who is White.

Experts are warning of the possibility of violence following Election Day next Tuesday. The rise of armed right-wing groups and growing anxiety amid the pandemic are early indicators that there could be unrest, no matter who wins the election. 

According to a new USA Today/Suffolk University poll, three out of four voters are concerned about the possibility of violence on Election Day. 

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