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April 18, 2006

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Wal-Mart Dumps Guns (Partly)

Over this past weekend, Wal-Mart announced that it will no longer sell firearms at about 1,000 of its 3,200 stores. This news was greeted with the expected yowls from the expected sources that:

  • Americans are finally losing interest in guns.
  • Wal-Mart is betraying a major segment of their customers.
  • Wal-Mart is finally acting like a responsible citizen.

I think it means that Wal-Mart is obeying one of the inexorable laws of commerce, which states that you carry in your stores those items that sell best, and if people would rather buy jockstraps than firearms, why, clear the shelves for all the new athletic supporters.

Or there might be another factor. Last December, I went into the Wal-Mart in Keyser, WV to buy a Styrofoam cooler to transport the last earthly remains of Bambi’s mom. Five different Wal-Mart employees (all friendly and helpful) could not agree whether they had Styrofoam coolers, or where in the store they might be. It turned out they were out of stock.

If I had that much trouble buying something as simple as a Styrofoam cooler, what would have happened if I’d tried to buy a gun? Probably I’d still be there. Maybe that’s why people no longer buy guns at some Wal-Marts.


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I guess what it boils down to is they can sell whatever they want in their store, just like we could if we opened our own store.


I suppose if those 1,000 stores are mostly in heavily populated areas with plenty of gangs and other poor behavior, taking the guns off those shelves is okay by me.


I used to be a Manager for Walmart in their Sporting Goods department and I only walked one rifle out the door in my 3 years at that store. People bought paintball and air rifles from time to time.

The "antis" are having a field day but this is a business decision and not an ethical issue.


Sorry to post again but most people don't like to buy guns from Walmart. I don't really see it as a direct link to a decline in the interest of guns and gun ownership.

Try just going to Walmart to purchase ammo after 8pm. You have to stand at the sporting goods counter for hours to be waited on. Sometimes it even means leaving and going searching in other departments throughout the store for somebody to help you. Once you somebody gets on the intercom and makes several calls you finally get a lady from the Jewelry department who happens to have the keys to open the case.

Then you have to point directly to the box you want because she doesn't know anything about ammo.


I live in Madison, WI. Most of my neighbors don't hunt. That is fine, the hunting isn't that great inside the city and if Wal-mart can make more money selling yoga mats they should listen to what the market is telling them.

Besides when I want to pick up my back tag or any other hunting supplies I go to Gander Mt. only a few blocks away. I think most city dwellers like myself have many options and would rather go to a specialty store than Wal-Mart.

Mike Diehl

I can't see any way that this works out badly for the consumer. I do not want the Mao Mart method of forcing "market efficiency" to lever Ruger, Smith, or Savage to outsource production to China, or to Baikal, just so that ten or even one hundred bucks can be shaved off the sticker price. Quality and tradition will suffer should that happen.



Matt Oursbourn

I have never personally purchased a firearm from Wal-Mart (for what will be obvious reasons). However, I have stood in line behind poor souls trying to accomplish this daunting task. I once got caught behinnd a man trying to purchase a Marlin .22 for 1 1/2 hours waiting to buy my duck stamp. I would have left upon realizing that the gun-purchasing circus was about to begin, but Wal-Mart happened to be the only place in my town that would sell permits and licenses at 9 pm. Anyway, I don't care whether or not Wal-Mart sells guns (or any other outdoor supplies [when you have to explain to the clerk that .22 LR, .22 Mag, .220 Swift, and .22-250 are all completely different cartridges and that only the .22 LR will work in a Ruger 10/22, you don't return to buy ammunition]).


Supply and demand? Yes, but I've heard also that W/M has tried to dictate to manufacturers or not shelve/stock their product(s). I might hope that this may have happened and the firearms industry has refused to knuckle under.

Dave Petzal

To Tom:

Will Hillary run for President? No. She is running for President.


Huh? What does that last comment mean? Over my head.


As a hunter and outdoorsman, I want to purchase quality equipment that will last...My guess is most people are visiting specialty retailers to purchase quality guns (and optics), especially the high-end variety.


I go to China-Mart from time to time and I'll look at what's in the gun racks and shelves for ammo and what-ever. The store seems to have good prices on Remington 700's and 11-87's and Rugers, but I noticed the choice of calibers and gauges are rather limited. I wasn't impressed with what ammo was available, either. I don't think I will lose sleep over some Wal-Mart cutting selling guns and ammo. I never bought a gun at Wal-Mart, nor did I intend to buy one. In a way I think it's better to buy sporting guns at specialty stores. There's enough merchants in my area to keep gun prices fair.



I know she is running, I doubt there is a correlation but, sometimes it makes you wonder if one has to do with the other. Dave: I did enjoy your presence and valuable opinions last August at our Factory in Orangeburg, NY orchestrated by "ROB"

Dave Petzal

To Bobby:
What I mean is, Hillary's ultimate goal is the Oval Office, and her Senate seat is only a stepping stone toward that end. She began campaigning for President about 5 minutes after she and Bubba left the White House.
Bobby Kennedy did the exact same thing in 1968. I doubt if he had ever set foot in New York State, but he ran for Senator, won, and then immediately began running for President.
What I can't understand is why these people pick New York. We must have done something really terrible in the past to justify such a fate.


I don't understand, but if you get the news letter from the NSSF and SHOT Show, Hilliary consistently votes against gun owners rights. I doubt many people who do not get these letters knows how dangerous she is to gun owners and the General Public. There is probably no correlation to her and Walmarts Decision but during her tenure at Walmart they sold guns and maybe Walmart is setting themselves up to support her run for the office.

On another point, don't the Democrats have anybody good First Kerry now Hilliary???????


What well minded intelligent hunter would buy from wal-mart anyway?....there very unprofessional in there departments...especially there sporting goods dept.....No thanks Id rather buy from a specialty gun dealer then dealing with unprofessional unknowledgeable people at Wal Mart


I will not buy a gun at Walmart, but I do like the availability to purchase ammo at wee hours in the morning or night when I am running low.

I hope that they don't stop selling ammo. . .


Wal-Mart no longer sells guns here in California because they were gutless and got Californicated by the slime slurping liberals. There ought to be a bounty on liberals so we get them all. Anyway, I wouldn't have purchased a gun at Wal-Mart because most of the people working in the sports section had trouble spelling gun much less knew anything at all about them or what to do about the paperwork. Like the rest of the writers, I go to the local gun store for my guns.

About Bobby K. and Hillary being elected in New York, it's like the massholes in MA, they will vote for anyone with a big mouth!

Ralph B.

I work, part time, for another leading Outdoors sport store which sells firearms...Walmarts loss, is out gain!
Oh, and I agree that the customer service at the gun counter was terrible at our local Walmart as well, they can display fishing items-as self serve-and have no need to have a true "sportsperson" running the department.

K Welch

Not all WalMarts are in urban areas!
I grew up in NW Oklahoma. Wal-Mart was there about 1976. It was and still is the ONLY place you can buy a rifle or ammo without driving 70 miles. Wal-Mart has it's place. Urban whiners shut up! I can't drive two blocks to Gander Mountain or Sportsman's Warehouse! You don't need a Wal-Mart, I DO!
Get out of the city and experience a true sportsmans lifestyle!

b c

Hillarious! Amazing how a Wally-World decision about selling guns gets hijacked by the Hillary bashers. Have you forgotten the gay, Jewish animal rights activists? They could be a part of this plot too.


K Welch,

I assume that most Wal-marts are still in smaller towns. I have heard no mention of them yanking the guns off of the shelves of places where they are the only game in town and likely do well.

I don't think any of us are whining, I think we won't miss the guns in Wal-Mart all that much.

Jack Bohm

I haven;t bought a gun at Wallly World- but my brother might buy a 10/22 there.
I have bought ammo there, mainly .22's and shotgun ammo. I won't bother with them for my .270- I can handload Hornady Interlocks for about 1/2 the price of Remington CoreLokts. They do have good prices on new guns, and if I was in the market for a new one, I would seriously consider buying from them.

Mark H

I once tried to buy a rifle at my local (rural) Wal-Mart. It took them an hour to complete the paperwork only to tell me that they were out of stock on the rifle I wanted and couldn't sell me the one in the display case. Now, why couldn't they have done the stockcheck FIRST, then the paperwork? Who knows...
Personally, I've given up on Wal-Mart. I'd rather pay a few more dollars and see my money go to support a local mom-and-pop business than to some multi-national conglomerate that doesn't give a hoot about the locality they service.

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