(Reuters) – Walmart Inc said on Tuesday it would discontinue sales of some ammunition in stores across the United States, in response to the mass shootings in Texas last month that killed several people.
The largest U.S. arms retailer also said it would discontinue handgun sales in Alaska, the only state where it sells these guns.
Walmart will stop selling short-barrel rifle ammunition such as the .223 caliber and 5.56 caliber after clearing current stock. While this type of ammunition is commonly used in some hunting rifles, they are also used in large capacity clips on military-style weapons, the company said.
Sales of handgun ammunition will also be discontinued, it said.
The retailer, which has been under pressure to change its policies on gun sales, said it took the action following the death of 31 people in mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, one of which took place in a Walmart store.
Just last month, Walmart asked employees at its U.S. stores to take down signs and playable demos of violent video games, but made no changes to its policy on selling firearms.
“As a company, we experienced two horrific events in one week, and we will never be the same,” Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon said in a letter to Walmart’s associates.
The retailer, however, said it would continue to cater to hunting and sport shooting enthusiasts, selling long barrel deer rifles and shotguns.
The company added that its latest actions would reduce its market share of ammunition from around 20% to a range of about 6% to 9%.
“We believe it will likely drift toward the lower end of that range, over time, given the combination of these changes,” McMillon said.
(Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)