Walmart To Halt Gun Sales In New Mexico Over Background Check Law

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File

Walmart is the largest retailer on the planet. It also sells guns in a significant number of its stores. Not all, mind you, but most Walmarts have a firearm section. I don’t know what it’s like to shop in one of these sections since my local store never has anyone there, but I figure someone’s got to buy guns from it, right?


However, if any of those folks are in New Mexico, I hope they have another gun store they can hit up.

Walmart will reportedly stop selling guns at its New Mexico stores later this month.

The retailer’s decision came after the state passed a new law expanding background checks, which was put into effect on July 1, CBS News reported.

The new legislation would make it so that people could register guns at Walmart that they had bought somewhere else. That would include handguns or assault rifles, which Walmart does not sell — with the exception of selling handguns in Alaska, according to the outlet.

The company stopped selling AR-15 rifles and other semi-automatic weapons back in 2015 due to sluggish demand.

A quick note here. I don’t care what Walmart says. I find it very difficult to believe the most popular firearm in the country had “sluggish demand.” More likely, Walmart didn’t want any bad press from selling the rifles but also didn’t want to tank its gun departments by admitting it openly.

Anyway, back to the article.

A Walmart spokesperson told CBS the company made its decision because store associates have not been trained to handle assault rifles or handguns and customers might be upset by seeing the guns unexpectedly.

“New Mexico’s new firearms law would require Walmart stores in New Mexico to conduct background checks for private-party transfers, which our stores are not designed to do due to the safety risks to our associates and our customers,” Tiffany Wilson, director of communications at Walmart, told CBS News in a statement. “The company has decided to surrender its federal firearms licenses and will no longer sell firearms in our New Mexico stores.”


In other words, Walmart only wanted to conduct background checks for guns it sells. It also thinks people will freak out over a firearm being taken into the store.

Of course, people would freak, so Walmart’s not wrong. The media has done such a wonderful job sensationalizing mass shootings that many people are convinced the only reason they’d see a gun is that the person carrying is about to kill everyone. They can’t figure out how to caution people that not everyone carrying a rifle, especially in a non-threatening manner, isn’t someone they need to be concerned with.

However, there’s also another side to this. While I don’t think a law like this was meant to discourage stores like Walmart from selling guns, I don’t think supporters are all that upset by this development. In their minds, fewer options for gun buyers is a good thing, and no options for gun buyers is even better. While I don’t think this was the end goal for this particular piece of legislation, I also don’t think anyone is going to trip over themselves to make a fix so Walmart will go back to selling guns, either.


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