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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Ed.’s note: This post has been updated as of 6:12 p.m.

By Nathan Layne

(Reuters) – Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the United States’ top seller of guns and ammunition, said on Wednesday it would stop selling the AR-15 and other semi-automatic rifles stores because of sluggish demand and focus instead on “hunting and sportsman firearms”.

Company spokesman Kory Lundberg said the decision was not related to high-profile incidents involving the rifles, including the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012.

“This is done solely on what customer demand was,” said Lundberg, confirming a report by business news website Quartz. “We are instead focusing on hunting and sportsman firearms.”

Lundberg said Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, would stop selling a class of rifle called the modern sports rifle (MSR), which includes the semi-automatic AR-15. He said that class of rifle was sold in fewer than a third of its roughly 4,500 U.S. stores.

The decision is part of a regular “reset” of its sporting goods department for the fall, Lundberg said.

The announcement came on the same day two television journalists were shot and killed in Virginia in an incident that is likely to stoke the debate about gun ownership in the United States and heighten scrutiny of retailers selling guns.

Other large retailers of rifles include Dick’s Sporting Goods and Cabela’s. No one at either company could be reached for comment regarding Wal-Mart’s decision.

Wal-Mart recently came under pressure from New York City’s Trinity Church, an investor that was pushing for tighter oversight of its sale of guns with high-capacity magazines.

In April a federal court ruled in Wal-Mart’s favor and vacated an injunction that would have required a vote on the issue at the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting in June.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation said demand for sporting rifles is strong.

“Modern Sporting Rifles are extremely popular with an estimated 10 million of them in the hands of Americans since 1990. Walmart’s decision was based on what its management sees as best for their business,” Michael Bazinet, a spokesman for the trade association, said in an email.

(Reporting by Nathan Layne; Editing Bill Rigby, Toni Reinhold)


Photo: An AR-15 style rifle is displayed at the 7th annual Border Security Expo in Phoenix, Arizona, in this file photo taken March 12, 2013. (REUTERS/Joshua Lott/Files)

  • Paragryne

    I refuse to say something good about Walmart.

    • JPHALL

      Oh come on. They are bad but not too bad.

  • stcroixcarp

    This is encouraging. First that the demand is low, and second that Walmart is no longer going to sell them. I wish that Walmart had put out a statement that due to recent acts of deadly violence using guns that they had decided to no longer sell any guns.

    • Otto Greif

      Demand for low-end AR-15s is low because the market has been saturated.

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    Remember that little girl who was allowed to practice with that automatic and shot the man training her? The family of that little girl have a national petition going to prevent children from having any contact with assault weapons..Gee….I’m so sure educated, intelligent adults needed to figure out that children and guns do not belong in the same place at the same time.

    Walmart knows the one thing it fears most is the court of public opinion. All that has to happen is for a Walmart weapon to kill an innocent child or end up killing an adult shot by a child and there’s an end to Walmart. Amazing how powerful public opinion can be.

    Look at Hobby Lobby. Their stock is tanking as a result of its policies. So much for imposing your religious beliefs on your customers.

    • TZToronto

      While I disagree with Hobby Lobby’s social policies, it’s a privately-owned company and is not publicly traded. Unless I’m wrong, they have no publicly-offered stock to tank. On the other hand, maybe they’re losing money, which would serve them right.

      • Eleanore Whitaker

        I agree. Hobby Lobby’s customers are largely women by the very nature of its business. Such policies will inevitably cause them to lose their major target market.

        It is a disgrace what employers today are doing to workers. More and more, workers are being paid wages they are not remotely “living wages.” Many US workers are working 2 full time jobs to earn the salary one job used to. What in the world are businesses thinking?

        This only proves that greed is a major basis of conservatism. They conserve our money so they don’t have to spend what they owe.

        Meanwhile, men and women are working 80 hours a week. How plantation mentality does the US government plan to allow this to get b before a massive number of workers end up dead like they did when Henry Fricke, Carnegie Steel’s attack dog increased workers hours to 16 a day and then had the gall to decrease their wages.

        I hope Wall Street crashes big time. It’s the only thing that teaches some all too greedy rich men they are not gods. This time they won’t get TARP or ARRA bailouts. They’ve already bankrupted the middle class. They dare try that and they’ll get the revolt they asked for right on their front door steps.

        • TZToronto

          Sadly, reducing all American workers to the status of indigents may be what the uber-wealthy are hoping for. That would solve a number of “problems” for them. The healthcare system (that which is used by most people) wouldn’t have much to to since most people will be dying on the street from hunger and exposure (can’t afford food and don’t have a place to live). So only the wealthy would be healthy. Then, since there’d be no one left to do any work in America, all of the work would be done in third-world countries (at slave wages or no wages) and sold to the only real consumers left, those in China, and India (biggest markets in the world) and maybe Nigeria. On top of that, the illegal immigration situation would solve itself since there would be no jobs left in America for immigrants to do–no crops to harvest since there’d be no one to eat them (except the uber-wealthy who would retain a small number of coddled drones to work the food production for them). One added benefit, from the perspective of the super-rich would be that the global population would decrease and–get this–anthropogenic climate change would eventually be stopped (no more Americans driving cars or using up all that coal-generated electricity). But the .01% would still be wealthy. They’d have all of that money pouring in from the big foreign markets. . . . Is this paranoia?

          • Eleanore Whitaker

            I saw very clearly what employers were up to when they started to dump traditional pensions for 401Ks. First of all, a 401K helped Wall Street by handing investments managers billions in pensions. So, the 401Ks started with “company matches.” By 2005, most of the company matches were gone. Pile of Profit for Employers No. 1. No more employee pensions to pay for.

            Next came the HMOs. All promising in 1978 to reduce the cost of healthcare insurance employers were paying. Really? So, why were employers in 2005 saying employee healthcare insurance plans had to be dumped because they cost too much. Who was really saving if not the HMOs…saving profits. So, employers dropped any plans they had to pay for. Pike of Profit No. 2.

            Strike Three came when employers began to outsource jobs to middle men. But, as fools they are, these employers didn’t realize that outsourcing customer service, tech services, payroll and accounting and field service would increase every year until the outsourced services cost more than employees hired full time. What to do? Ship these business operations offshore to India, China, Thailand and Mexico where labor is cheap. But, the best part? No employer taxes for foreign employees. Just a nice low low low cost contract for cheap labor work….Until these foreign countries’ economies stabilized and skyrocketed courtesy of US employers. Then, those contracts for cheap labor started to escalate.

            Now? US employers are realizing the errors of their ways and figure they can force cheap labor in the US like in those foreign countries. So they cut all employee benefits, offer NO sick or vacation time and demand overtime at no additional hourly rates.

            And just how long they think they will pull this off before American laborers turn into an angry mob is anyone’s guess.

    • David

      Eleanore!!! There you go again. Spouting off things which are flat untrue. Hobby Lobby is a privately owned company that does not have publicly owned shares. Have you forgotten to take your medicine again? Walmart is going to do what makes Walmart a profit. The semi-auto rifles they sold were not of first line quality anyway. Now go back to your recliner and relax. Please have some hot tea to calm your nerves. And, please try to be a little more factual in your next rant. Have a blessed day!

  • ‘Tis Moi

    “Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the United States’ top seller of guns and
    ammunition, said on Wednesday it would stop selling the AR-15 and other
    semi-automatic rifles stores because of sluggish demand”

    Because they couldn’t do the right thing if it was still earning them a profit?


  • jmprint

    This is a very good start.

  • Otto Greif

    Wal-Mart was not a good place to purchase a quality AR.

  • bobnstuff

    With only one AR-15 per 32 people in the country we are lost. How will we kill ourselves off. Maybe the buyers of these guns are running out of money to waste on them. I’m sure if you really want one you will have no problem finding one. This is a good sign anyway. Now if Walmart could get some rounds for my 22 it would be nice.