The company will also no longer sell ammunition for short-barrel rifles, which are often used in hunting but can also be used in military-style weapons. Walmart will also phase out the sale of handguns in the only state where it still sells them, Alaska. On Sept. 3, 2019, the chain announced it will discontinue the sale of handgun ammunition. About half of its more than 4,750 USA stores sell firearms.
McMillon also asked that firearm owners with open carry permits refrain from availing themselves of that right within Walmart, citing those who carried guns into the stores to "test our response" after the shootings.
McMillon told his employees that he is "sending letters to the White House and the Congressional leadership that call for action on these common sense measures".
Walmart attempted again to balance customers who own guns and are "part of our customer base" with safety in stores, Dan Bartlett, Walmart executive vice president of corporate affairs, said on a call with reporters.
The sales will stop after Walmart sells its current inventory.
Such steps include asking customers to no longer openly carry firearms in Walmart or Sam's Clubs stores in states where open carry is permitted, excluding law enforcement officers.
Walmart has been in the middle of the gun-policy debate as it faces new calls to tighten sales of guns and ammunition.
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon used a memo to announce the open carry ban: "We believe the opportunity for someone to misinterpret a situation, even in open carry states, could lead to tragic results".
Last month, Walmart instructed workers to take down displays of video games with violent imagery and make sure none of the screens in stores display violence.
"We know these decisions will inconvenience some of our customers, and we hope they will understand", McMillon said.
Despite its history of selling hunting weapons that goes back to Walmart's origins, Walmart has shifted its gun policies.
Walmart previously stopped selling handguns and military-style rifles, including the AR-15. The company said Tuesday that it would explore sharing its proprietary gun-sales technology platform with other retailers. It also mentions shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and this past weekend's attack in Midland and Odessa, Texas.