Q&A – The Impact Of Walmart's New Gun & Ammo Position

Today’s entry - No one buys ammo at Walmart. I get mine shipped to me via UPS.

Bottom Line: Those online sales might not be immune from scrutiny much longer either. Senate Democrats have already begun hearings over online sales of firearms, accessories, and ammunition. I’m not sure where that conversation will end but should related gun control measures pass in Congress, I do think there’s the potential for changes to online purchases soon. Now, back to Walmart's decision. I wouldn’t say that no one buys ammo at Walmart. 

Until Walmart’s recent decision to cease sales of ammo, one out of every five bullets purchased in this country were purchased through Walmart. Last year, $400 million in ammo was purchased by Americans through Walmart stores. They were the single biggest seller of ammunition in the country. Is it likely to have a material impact on access? At this point probably not. Ironically, it’s liable to be positive for local retailers, which I personally think is a good thing. 

I’m all for informed and responsible gun ownership. In my experience, the level of knowledge, information and personal service available by specialty retailers is far more superior to that in big box stores. That includes potentially wasting money on expensive ammunition at the gun range, aside from finding the ideal equipment and ammunition to fit the person purchasing it. The way that Walmart and Dicks have gone about their policy changes are also, in my view, the best way for change to take place. They’re making calculations about consumer behavior and demand based on their social policy changes. They will succeed or fail based on their ability to meet their customer’s demands and expectations. Whether it’s this or most other issues, that beats the heavy hand of government telling them what they will or won’t sell. 

We’ll see where this story goes for retailers like Dicks and Walmart as well as a reform now that Congress is back in session. I’d be surprised if something didn’t pass given that solid majorities of Americans would like to see multiple reforms enacted just like Floridians after the shooting at Stoneman Douglas led to comprehensive reforms passing in our state.

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Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com

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Photo by: Getty Images North America

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