Walmart to remove violent displays in stores but will still sell guns

As Walmart faces pressure from gun control advocates to stop selling guns, images of a Walmart memo calling for “Immediate Action: Remove signing and displays referencing violence” are being shared on social media. Two recent in-store shootings have claimed more than 20 lives combined.

Walmart confirmed the legitimacy of the memo to USA Today on Thursday.

The message tells employees to use their “best judgement when determining whether an element is appropriate.” It listed specific actions employees should take, such as unplugging violent video game displays, cancelling any events pertaining to combat-style or third-person shooter games, and turning off hunting season videos. 

A representative for Walmart did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider. In a statement to USA Today, Walmart spokeswoman Tara House said, “We’ve taken this action out of respect for the incidents of the past week, and this action does not reflect a long-term change in our video game assortment.”

The efforts to “remove signing and displays referencing violence,” per the wording of the memo, follows a statement from Walmart CEO Doug McMillon earlier this week, regarding the two recent shootings that occurred in Walmart locations.

The first incident happened on July 30 in Southaven, Mississippi, in which a “disgruntled employee” shot and killed two workers. The second happened this past weekend in El Paso, Texas, when a gunman posted to a racist manifesto online, according to police, and roughly 20 minutes later opened fire in the store and killed 22 people.

“We will be thoughtful and deliberate in our responses, and we will act in a way that reflects the best values and ideals of our company, with a focus on serving the needs of our customers, associates and communities,” McMillon wrote.

As of Sunday, there had been “no change” in the company’s policy to sell guns, Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove told USA Today.

Walmart is facing pressure to stop selling guns entirely from gun control advocates – even from within the company. A corporate employee recently sent a mass email calling on workers to strike until the company stops selling guns.

“In light of recent events, and in response to corporate’s inaction, we are organizing a ‘sick out’ general strike to protest Walmart’s profit from the sale of guns,” Thomas Marshall, who works for Walmart’s e-commerce division, wrote in the email.

“We have made great strides already, but now we must organize to shape this company into a place we can all be proud of,” he continued in the email. “As associates, we have the power, ability, and opportunity to change this company for the better.”