August 15, 2019

The CEO of Walmart says reauthorizing an assault weapons ban should be "debated" as the company faces calls to stop selling firearms following recent deadly mass shootings.

CEO Doug McMillon said Thursday while delivering the company's earnings report that "we're encouraged that broad support is emerging to strengthen background checks and to remove weapons from those who have been determined to pose an imminent danger," CNBC reports. He also said that "reauthorization of the assault weapons ban should be debated to determine its effectiveness in keeping weapons made for war out of the hands of mass murderers."

A Walmart was the site of the deadly mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, that left 22 people dead earlier this month. In the aftermath of this tragedy, as well as a second mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, shortly after and a previous shooting at a Walmart in July, the company has been under pressure to cease weapons sales, with Democratic candidates for president weighing in.

"The weapons they sell are killing their own customers and employees,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) recently said. "No profit is worth those lives."

With mentions of support for strengthening background check legislation and a potential push for an assault weapons ban reinstatement, this was the most forceful statement Walmart has delivered amid this mounting pressure, with McMillon simply saying last week that it would be "thoughtful and deliberate in our responses," The Wall Street Journal reports. CNN writes the company "could give Congress fresh incentive to act."

McMillon did not mention any specific policy changes on Thursday, but he did say that steps will be taken to "strengthen our processes, improve our technology, and create an even safer environment in our stores." According to McMillon, Walmart sells about 2 percent of the United States' firearms, and about 20 percent of its ammunition. It stopped selling assault weapons itself in 2015. Brendan Morrow

See More Speed Reads