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Walmart Makes History: Announces End Of Sales Of Handgun Ammunition And Asks Customers To Leave Their Guns At Home

After another deadly mass shooting, this time in Odessa and Midland, Texas, which left seven people dead and another 25 injured, it is clear that people in this country experience more gun violence than anywhere else in the world. Mass shootings in America are now a daily occurrence. Sounds like we’re exaggerating, but it’s true. Saturday’s shooting in Texas was the 283 mass shootings in the country, and we’re only on day 244 of the year, which means there are more shootings than there are days of the year. What would make it all stop? Changes in gun laws, perhaps? There are some baby steps taking place right now and a lot of people are pleased with this news, but not the ring-wing sticklers. 

Walmart announced today they are ending the sale of handgun ammunition that can also be used for assault-style weapons. 

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon wrote a letter to his employees in response to the shootings in El Paso, Texas, Southaven, Mississippi, Dayton, Ohio, and last weekend’s shootings. 

“In Southaven and El Paso, our associates responded to anger and hate with courage and self-sacrifice. Our immediate priorities were supporting our associates and the impacted families and cooperating with law enforcement. In parallel, we have been focused on store safety and security. We’ve also been listening to a lot of people inside and outside our company as we think about the role we can play in helping to make the country safer. It’s clear to us that the status quo is unacceptable.”

McMillon went on to say that the company has previously made other changes including ending the retail of handguns and military-style rifles such as the AR-15. They also raised the age limit to purchase a firearm or ammunition to 21, and require a “green light” on a background check while federal law only requires the absence of  “red light,” and they also videotape when people are purchasing guns, and only allow certain trained associates to sell firearms.

Here are the new gun retail changes that Walmart has announced: 

  • After selling through our current inventory commitments, we will discontinue sales of short-barrel rifle ammunition such as the .223 caliber and 5.56 caliber that, while commonly used in some hunting rifles, can also be used in large capacity clips on military-style weapons; 
  • We will sell through and discontinue handgun ammunition; 
  • We will discontinue handgun sales in Alaska, marking our complete exit from handguns.
  • We are respectfully requesting that customers no longer openly carry firearms into our stores or Sam’s Clubs in states where “open carry” is permitted

McMillion also asked the country’s lawmakers to “move forward and strengthen background checks and to remove weapons from those who have been determined to pose an imminent danger.”

Some people on social media praised this move by Walmart including Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. 

“Open carry is dangerous, and we applaud Walmart — one of the largest companies in America — for taking this important action,” Watts said in a press release statement. “No one should have to wonder if the guy with a gun strapped to his back in the milk aisle is a threat. Moms Demand Action volunteers have been asking Walmart to block open carry in its stores since the 2014 shooting death of John Crawford III in an Ohio Walmart, a call for action that intensified after last month’s mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart. This is a very significant step from one of America’s best-known companies; it was made possible by a cultural shift that people like you have helped achieve, showing that Americans want to be kept safe from gun violence. Our elected officials should remember that reality when they return to Washington next week.”

Naturally, the National Rifle Association (NRA) was livid after this announcement and told their followers to buy their gun accessories elsewhere. 

Those on the conservative side have already launched into a #boycottWalmart with some tweeting, “Y’all just a bunch of liberals. Never going to your stores again @Walmart @WalmartInc #boycottwalmart.” Another said, “Your decision to stop selling guns and ammo is just another reason I have STOPPED SHOPPING at your stores. If you desire to punish all because of the actions of a few then you WILL NOT get my money! I hope you go bankrupt!”

The likelihood of Walmart going bankrupt because some are choosing to boycott after this new stand against (some not all) guns is highly impossible. 

Walmart is, after all, the largest retailer in the country, so where else can people get a deal on cereal and toys? Is Kmart still around? Either way, we applaud Walmart for making small changes that will make a bigger impact. And while they might lose money, they will help save lives. 

READ: A Country Is On Edge As White Men Threaten To “Shoot Up” Walmart’s From Texas To Florida

The El Paso Walmart Where A White Nationalist Killed 22 People Reopens With #ElPasoStrong Banner

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The El Paso Walmart Where A White Nationalist Killed 22 People Reopens With #ElPasoStrong Banner

robolivasvzw / Instagram

Amid a class action lawsuit over safety, Walmart has hired off-duty officers to man its El Paso store during today’s quiet reopening, over three months since the deadly, racist mass shooting. On August 3, 2019, a white supremacist drove ten hours from Dallas, Texas, to the Cielo Vista shopping center, armed to kill as many Mexicans and Mexican-Americans as possible. That day, more than 3,000 people were in the El Paso Walmart, and 22 died within the few minutes the shooter opened fire. 

A security guard was scheduled to be there that fateful day but didn’t show. Walmart is currently the defendant in a class-action lawsuit, which is not seeking monetary damages but rather answers as to why Walmart didn’t adequately protect its customers.

The El Paso Walmart reopened its doors but not without an #ElPasoStrong banner greeting customers.

Before its scheduled opening at 9 a.m., employees gathered for the first time since the shooting for an employee meeting. Many wore “El Paso Strong” pins on their nametags. This time, armed off-duty police officers will be standing by, comforting many and alarming others. “There was a time that Walmart hired off-duty officers and for some time prior (to) August 3rd that ceased,” El Paso police spokesman Enrique Carrillo, told The Daily Mail in an email. 

The officers will be paid $50 per hour, roughly double their hourly wage.

Credit: @anjelia3464 / Twitter

Walmart has significantly invested in its security measures at all Walmart stores. “We typically do not share our security measures publicly because it could make them less effective,” Walmart spokeswoman Delia Garcia told the outlet, “But they may include hiring additional security, adding cameras in-store and using ‘lot cops’ in the parking lot. We will continue our long-standing practice of regularly evaluating our staffing, training, procedures, and technology which are designed to provide a safe working and shopping experience.”

If the government won’t implement gun reform, does the burden of protecting shoppers now lie in corporations?

Credit: @camerontygett / Twitter

The National Rifle Association (NRA) is one of the most powerful lobbying groups in the United States, and the single largest roadblock to gun reform in America. The NRA donates to politicians who then ensure its interests are protected. The class action against Walmart presents a morose shift in the political landscape. It presumes that mentally ill people armed with assault-style weapons are something businesses should expect to protect their customers from. 

While it’s legally sound for Walmart to hire the off-duty officers to protect itself from liability, where is the burden on the police department? If the United States won’t pass gun reform measures, should it raise taxes instead to militarize the police and station them at every church, synagogue, movie theater and chain store? Will corporations band together to lobby the government, founded in capitalism, to take this undue burden off its back?

One shopper reflects the sentiment of many heading to Walmart today: “We aren’t letting this beat us.”

Credit: @KeenanFOX_CBS / Twitter

Journalist Keenan Willard met Emma Ferguson in the parking lot of the Walmart. She stopped to smile for a photo and tell him what her shopping experience means to her. “It’s about standing up to our fear. We aren’t letting this beat us.” Willard quoted her in a tweet.

The City of El Paso began removing the makeshift memorial behind Walmart earlier this week to prepare for its reopening.

Credit: @tornandra / Twitter

Journalist and El Paso resident Andra Litton tweeted a photo of the makeshift memorial behind Walmart the evening before the City of El Paso started removing the items, along with the fencing, “making it visible from I-10 for the first time since the Aug 3 shooting,” she tweeted. “It still hurts. #ElPasoStrong”

The items have been moved to Ponder Park, across the street from Walmart.

Credit: @nachoguilar / Twitter

Next to the memorial are “Temporary Memorial Site” signs in both Spanish and English. They read, “The City of El Paso invites the public to honor the victims of the August 3, 2019 tragedy at the Temporary Memorial at Ponder Park. The public may leave memorial items at the site. The public is encouraged to tie an orange ribbon in remembrance of those lost on August 3, 2019.” Along the fence, traditional Mexican sombreros hang next to a green star that says, “God cares!” “Pray for El Paso” and “#FronteraStrong,” along with Día de Muertos images of Frida Kahlo pepper the memorial.

A permanent memorial is under construction in the Walmart parking lot.

Credit: @265rza / Twitter

The ‘Grand Candela’ will be 30 feet tall, and projected to be unveiled by the end of the year. A month after the El Paso shooting, Walmart announced its plan to phase out certain types of ammunition from its stores, reducing its market share of ammunition from 20 percent to less than 10 percent. 

Still, some feel Walmart’s reopening, with the memorial or not, is a “slap in the face” to the victims. “It’s disrespectful to the people who died in the shooting,” college student Brandon Flores, 19, told CNN. “Anyone would be able to walk over the place where their bodies were laying and it would be just like nothing happened.”

READ: El Paso Artists Joined Together To Commemorate El Paso Gun Violence Victims With A Mural That Highlights Community Strength

A Gunman Opened Fire On A Santa Clarita High School And Here’s Everything We Know

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A Gunman Opened Fire On A Santa Clarita High School And Here’s Everything We Know

KTTV Fox 11

One person is dead and at least three others are injured, two of them critically, after a shooting at a Southern California high school Thursday morning, officials said.

The shooting began at before 8 a.m. before classes had started, while many students were on their way to the school.

The shooting began before classes started, with authorities starting to get calls about shots fired at 7:38 a.m., Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said.

Adam Eichensehr, another sophomore, told ABC7 he received a text from his friends telling him not to go to school because they heard gunshots.

“At first I didn’t believe it. … then I saw cops, and so I stopped and I called my mom and she told me to come straight home,” he said. “All my friends I’ve come in contact with are OK for now.”

Police had tweeted out a warning to the community before they had located the suspect.

The Santa Clarita Valley sheriff’s office tweeted just before 8 a.m. local time to avoid the area of Saugus High School, which is in the county of Los Angeles, about 40 miles north of the city of Los Angeles. Minutes later, the office said people were reporting that shots had been fired at the school.

“This is an active shooter situation,” a tweet from the Santa Clarita Valley sheriff’s office said before the suspect was located. “If you live in neighborhoods anywhere near Saugus High, PLEASE LOCK DOORS and stay inside. If you see suspect, male dark clothing, in backyards, etc. CALL 911.”

“Parents, deputies are on scene everywhere protecting your children,” a tweet from the sheriff’s office said.

So far two victims have died from their wounds and three others remain in the hospital.

Five victims were being transported to Henry Mayo Hospital, which says that three of them — two males and one female — arrived in critical condition. The female patient later died. Another male patient was in good condition and a fifth patient was still en route, according to the hospital.

Terrified students have started sharing their harrowing stories.

Student Sharon Orelana Cordova told NBC Los Angeles that she was doing homework when she saw people running so she started running too. “When I got out, I saw this person lying down on the ground, and I saw blood all over. It was really scary, I was really really scared. I didn’t know what was going on,” she said.

Saugus was placed on lockdown as were neighboring elementary schools and all of the schools in the William S. Hart Union High School District, officials said.

Aerial video showed students with their hands raised, being escorted by deputies away from the school of about 2,300 students, NBC Los Angeles reported. They were transported from the campus on school buses with armed deputies on board.

An area was set up for parents to reunify with students at a park about three miles from the school.

Politicians and celebrities were quick to condemn the violence on social media.

Several of the leading candidates for the 2020 Democratic primary took to Twitter to share their grief but to also make renewed calls for increased gun control.

Bernie Sanders said: “This must end. Children in America should not live in fear for their lives at school or anywhere else. We have a moral obligation to say: children’s lives are more important than gun manufacturers’ profits. We must pass common sense gun safety legislation.”

While California’s Governor Gavin Newsome tweeted at the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel: “how many more lives will be lost? How many more shootings will we have to endure? We need commonsense gun reform. NOW.”

The Santa Clarita shooting marks the 366th mass shooting in the US just this year.

At least 30 shooting attacks on school grounds have occurred in 2019 resulting in deaths or injuries, according to gun safety group Everytown.

At least 11 people have died in fatal shooting attacks this year, according to Everytown’s research. 

Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, a non-profit founded in 2006, tracks incidents of gun violence across the United States. Included in its count of gun violence on schools are any incident in which a live round is fired inside or into a school building or on a school’s campus.

The group says there have been a total of 84 incidents of gunfire on school grounds in 2019. There were 104 in 2018.

Of the incidents this year, 10 fatal incidents, including Thursday’s, involved attacks on others. There were other shootings that caused injury or death that involved those that died by suicide, a round that accidentally went off, attacks not targeting students or domestic incidents