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Wal-Mart Dropping Assault Rifles Over Sales, Not Politics

Wal-Mart's decision to drop guns commonly used in mass shooting may have little to do with politics and current events.
Posted at 7:10 PM, Aug 26, 2015

Wal-Mart, the nation's largest seller of guns and ammunition, says it plans to stop selling semi-automatic rifles in its stores. 

A Wal-Mart spokesman told BearingArms.com Tuesday the move was more about consumer demand than anything political. The stores will instead stock guns that sell better, like hunting rifles. (Video via Wal-Mart)

But the news came at a very political moment. The next day, a shooter in Virginia killed two journalists and injured another, and the Wal-Mart news quickly got swept up in the gun control debate. 

One of the guns Wal-Mart will no longer sell, the AR-15, has been used in multiple mass shootings in recent years, including the 2012 school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. 

One of Wal-Mart's shareholders, Trinity Church in New York City, actually tried to get the retailer to stop selling guns with high capacity magazines after that incident. Eventually, the church lost a court case over whether it had a say in the matter as a shareholder. (Video via Wal-Mart)

But Wal-Mart is already more careful with its gun sales than many other businesses. In fact, its policy is even more stringent than federal law. 

Federal law requires retailers to wait three days for a background check before selling a firearm. If that background check doesn't come back in time, the retailer can still sell the gun. But Wal-Mart won't sell guns at all without a background check, no matter how long it takes. 

The federal three-day policy became part of the conversation again after the shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, in June. Dylann Roof was allowed to purchase a gun when his background check didn't come back after three days. 

Instead of just pulling its AR-15s and shotguns that hold seven or more rounds, Wal-Mart will move to quickly sell them off and replace them with firearms that typically sell better. 

This video includes images from Getty Images.