Presidential hopefuls Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are among the Democratic candidates urging Walmart to stop selling guns, following shootings at two stores that killed 24 people.
“Companies that sell guns have a responsibility to the safety of their communities,” Sen. Warren (D-Mass.) tweeted on Friday. “The weapons they sell are killing their own customers and employees. No profit is worth those lives. Do the right thing—stop selling guns.”
Walmart, one of the country’s largest gun retailers, is facing mounting pressure from advocacy groups, politicians and its own employees to stop selling firearms and ammunition in its stores. A mass shooting at a Walmart store in El Paso last weekend left 22 people dead and two dozen injured. Days earlier, a Walmart employee shot and killed two co-workers at a store in Southaven, Miss.
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Sen. Sanders (I-Vt.), who recently traveled to Walmart’s annual shareholders meeting to speak on behalf of workers, doubled down on that message Friday. “Walmart should respect the voices of its workers who are calling on the company to stop selling guns,” he said on Twitter.
A Walmart spokesman declined to comment. Earlier in the week, chief executive Douglas McMillon said Walmart was rethinking its gun policies and that it would be “thoughtful and deliberate” in its response.
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The world’s largest retailer has scaled back its firearms business in recent years. It stopped selling military-style rifles in 2015, and last year it raised the minimum age for gun purchases from 18 to 21. The company continues to sell guns at about half of its 4,750 U.S. stores.
Walmart said Friday it had asked workers to remove violent video game displays in its stores as a result of the recent shootings. “We’ve taken this action out of respect for the incidents of the past week,” spokeswoman Tara House said, adding that the retailer would not stop selling violent video games.
Two other candidates, former housing and urban development secretary Julián Castro and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), also called for Walmart to go further.
“Video games don’t cause mass shootings,” Castro wrote on Twitter. “Guns do. Maybe take those off the shelf, @Walmart?”
Booker said Walmart should “raise the standard for gun ownership in this country” by getting out of the firearms business.