Let’s first address the fact that we’re going to see a lot more headlines like this one from qz.com, saying “Walmart is going to stop selling AR-15s and other assault rifles.” Walmart never sold assault rifles, which are fully automatic weapons used by the military. The only AR-platform rifles sold to civilians in the U.S. are semi-automatic. If you don’t know what to call such a gun, Modern Sporting Rifle, or MSR, is a perfectly descriptive and accurate term. But it’s still an AR.
Walmart has announces it will pull ARs and some semi-automatic shotguns from their shelves, according to Kory Lundberg, the company’s Senior Director for Corporate Communications. It will no longer sell semi-automatic shotguns with a magazine capacity of seven rounds or more.
Lundberg has said that politics played no role in the chain’s decision, and that it was a business decision that drove an inventory correction, according to bearingarms.com. That means there just isn’t enough customer demand to continue carrying them.
“This happens to get more attention because of what the product is,” Lundberg said, but “the decision was completely based on what customers are buying and what they want.”
The retail giant has shifted back and forth on guns and gun sales for more than a decade, and just months ago won in a lawsuit brought by Trinity Church designed to force Walmart to stop selling MSRs and “high-capacity” magazines.
According to Time magazine, the company announced an end to guns sales in a third of its stores in 2006. Then, when the recession hit in 2009, Walmart brought back guns to many of those locations to bring back customers. Now, they’re going to stop selling the most popular semi-automatic rifle platform in the country. This won’t, however, affect a large number of popular hunting arms, which they will continue to carry.