(WKRN) – Walmart removed guns and ammo from its store shelves in response to the unrest in Philadelphia this week. That includes locations in Middle Tennessee.
“A lot of your smaller stores have more adequate security where we don’t have to do that,” said Goodlettsville Gun Shop owner Phillip Arrington. “A lot of the Walmarts stay open 24 hours.”
Customers will find guns and ammo on display at his store where sales are continuing to climb this year.
“Gun sales have been off the charts industry-wide for 2020,” Arrington said. “A lot of people have asked me – because I’ve been in the industry so long – ‘how does this compare to say Y2K or Sandy Hook, or the Clinton years with gun bans?’ and what I tell them is you wrap all those sales up over the years and you compare them to 2020 and 2020 kind of knocks them out of the ballpark.”
Arrington said right now they are trying to keep up with demand but supplies present a challenge.
“This is a year that’s been the hardest for anybody in the industry to get firearms and ammunition – just the supplies are just so low, it makes it tremendously hard to keep product on the shelves,” he said.
He explained that a lot is happening this year driving people to buy guns even if they never did before.
“Election years are always busy but this year when you have a pandemic and you have civil unrest and stuff like that, the crime and looting, that tends to scare folks,” said Arrington.
Regardless of the reason, he said gun safety is always key.
“We just have to take extra time to show them how to use the firearm, show them how to safely store it,” said Arrington.
Arrington said he supports Walmart’s decision, and at the end of the day, it helps small businesses like his store.
Walmart released the following statement to News 2:
“It’s important to note that we only sell firearms in approximately half of our stores, primarily where there are large concentrations of hunters, sportsmen, and sportswomen. 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. These items do remain available for purchase by customers.”Walmart Spokesperson
Oct. 30 UPDATE: A few days after removing ammunition and firearms from displays at its U.S. stores citing “civil unrest” in some areas, Walmart says those items will be back on store shelves.
“After civil unrest earlier this week resulted in damage to several of our stores, consistent with actions we took over the summer, we asked stores to move firearms and ammunition from the sales floor to a secure location in the back of the store in an abundance of caution,” read a statement from the company. “As the current incidents have remained geographically isolated, we have made the decision to begin returning these products to the sales floor today (Friday).”