Following two recent fatal shootings at Walmarts in Texas and Mississippi, Walmart took down displays of violent video games in its stores but it plans to still sell the controversial video games—and guns, CNN reported.
The change in policy does not apply to the sale or display of actual weapons. As the nation’s largest retailer, Walmart is also one of the world’s largest sellers of guns and ammunition.
In its stores, Walmart previously promoted violent video games with displays that demonstrate the games. Some shoppers could conceivably mistake those games’ soundtracks for actual gunshots. But after recent shootings, Walmart and its customers are particularly sensitive to the sound of gunshot.
The company has taken that action out of respect for the incidents of the past week, and that action does not reflect a long-term change in their video game, Walmart spokeswoman Tara House said.
The company will also stop playing violent shows and movies on televisions in its electronics section. It will likewise stop playing hunting videos in its sporting goods section. A memo to store personnel directing the change in policy was first publicly disclosed on social media network Thursday, Aug. 8.
The memo follows a statement earlier in the week by Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, in which he vowed a “thoughtful and deliberate” response to the shootings.
Although some public officials, including President Donald Trump, have pointed to violent video games as a cause of the increase in gun violence, numerous studies have found no connection between actual violent behavior and the games.
Many people have called on Walmart to stop completely selling guns. Some Walmart employees have voiced their concerns about the gun sales at the store.
Walmart does not sell assault-style rifles, nor does it sell handguns outside of Alaska. It also does not sell any weapons to customers under 21.
After the Sandy Hook shooting in 2015, Walmart stopped selling assault rifles and followed last year’s shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, it changed its age policy.
Walmart is telling its employees to take down displays that show violent video games, specifically shooters, as well as hunting videos and movies. pic.twitter.com/2N3t4B86tf
— Kenneth Shepard (@shepardcdr) August 7, 2019