UPDATED 10/30, 5:04 p.m. ET: Walmart has reversed its decision to pull guns and ammunition from its store displays. The move comes less than a day after the retail giant announced it was removing the products from its floors in wake of "civil unrest" that affected some of its locations.
"As the current incidents have remained geographically isolated, we have made the decision to begin returning these products to the sales floor today," Walmart spokesperson Kory Lundberg told NBC News.
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Customers hell-bent on buying guns and/or ammo from select Walmart locations that typically sell such things will still be able to do so, per the Wall Street Journal's report on the move from Thursday evening, though they'll now have to make a special request for purchase.
"We have seen some isolated civil unrest and as we have done on several occasions over the last few years, we have moved our firearms and ammunition off the sales floor as a precaution for the safety of our associates and customers," a Walmart rep said in a statement, noting that firearms are only sold in about half of all U.S. stores. Most of those stores, the rep further explained, are located in areas where they've determined the presence of "large concentrations" of hunting enthusiasts and similar customers.
The announcement of Walmart's temporary change to guns and ammo sales procedures comes after protests began in Philadelphia in response to police shooting and killing Walter Wallace Jr. Previously, Walmart has made similar temporary sales changes amid protests spurred by the death of George Floyd, who was also killed by police. Derek Chauvin, the main officer involved in Floyd's killing, is now facing second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges.
The move also comes days ahead of the 2020 presidential election, which has itself already been greatly complicated by the ongoing concerns surrounding the still-in-progress COVID-19 pandemic.