Ammo on Aisle Three: Walmart Brings Back Guns to Many Stores

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Carlos Barria / Reuters

We can hear it across the country: Hey, honey, could you pick up some butter? And while you’re at it what about a Remington 12-gauge?

Walmart is resuming gun sales at half its stores across the United States in a bid to attract male buyers and revive its appeal as a one-stop shopping destination.

Company spokesperson David Tovar says it was a business decision to sell guns in certain stores, as the appeal of the guns were broader than they originally thought. He added the company was still committed to responsible gun sales, saying it would maintain compliance of all applicable local, state and federal laws.

(More on Why Are the Mentally Ill Still Bearing Arms)

Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, had pulled guns from the shelves of its U.S. stores five years earlier, along with thousands of less popular items. But after a customer backlash, they put many of the products back on the shelves. This latest push is part of a move to bring back what they call “Heritage” items such as fishing rods and bolts of sewing fabric. The company said they underestimated the importance of the slower-selling items in drawing customers to their stores.

Federally tracked gun sales in the U.S. grew more than 12.7% in the first quarter of the year, but the sales were mostly for handguns, which Walmart will not sell and has not sold since the early 1990s when it faced lawsuits because of its notoriously lax training for gun clerks. In 2008, the company voluntarily adopted stricter gun sales policy as part of an agreement with Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

Wholesale sales of handguns and long guns in the U.S. in 2009, totaled around $2.6 billion, according to the trade group National Shooting Sports Foundation’s most recent figures. This excludes exports and sales to law enforcement and military, and is bases on taxes paid by manufacturers.

Walmart says most of the stores where guns and ammunition are being restored are mostly in rural markets like Kansas and upstate New York, but handful are also in more urban areas such as Spokane, Washington and Albuquerque, New Mexico. (Via Wall Street Journal)