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story.lead_photo.caption In this Oct. 5, 2007, file photo, an American flag flies in front of the Walmart Stores Inc. headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. (AP Photo/April L. Brown, File)

A petition asking Walmart Inc. to stop selling guns in its stores has collected more than 130,000 signatures.

Walmart employee Thomas Marshall emailed the petition to Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon on Tuesday. The document also asks the Bentonville retailer to change its policy allowing customers to carry guns on company property and to stop donating through its political action committee to politicians backed by the National Rifle Association.

Marshall, who works at the company's San Bruno, Calif., office, started the petition at soon after a gunman killed 22 people at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, and a former Walmart employee killed two workers at a store in Southaven, Miss. By Wednesday afternoon, 130,481 people had signed the petition, with new signatures being added by the minute. Marshall's goal is 150,000 signatures.

In a letter accompanying the petition, Marshall told McMillon "customers no longer feel as safe as they once did in our stores. We must do more. We have the power to do more."

McMillon replied to Marshall's email Wednesday, saying the retailer is "considering a number of additional steps" it could take to help stem gun violence, though he didn't say what those steps may be. "By far, our number one priority is safety," McMillon said. "Sales and profit are not driving our decisions here. We'll take the necessary time to think this through and share our conclusions at the right time. Please know that we're listening to you and to all the others that want their voices heard."

In the company's recent earnings report, McMillon said Walmart accounts for about 2% of U.S. gun sales, and about 20% of sales of ammunition. Walmart has said it sells guns at about half of its 4,700 stores in the U.S., with many more selling ammunition.

McMillon also outlined the measures Walmart has taken to date to help curb gun-related violence. It stopped selling handguns in every state but Alaska in the mid-1990s. In 2015, the retailer stopped selling assault-style rifles, and raised the minimum age to buy a firearm or ammunition from 18 to 21 in 2018.

Also, Walmart only sells firearms after receiving a "green light" on a background check; makes video recordings at the point of sale for guns; and allows only certain employees to sell them, among other security measures.

Marshall's petition isn't the only one on that concerns guns at Walmart. However, the other one, created by Jackson Duvall, is titled "Keep Guns at Walmart."

"Taking guns out of Walmart would not solve literally anything and is just the first step in people attempting to ban gun purchases at every store," Duvall wrote in the petition. "This isn't the crusade to end gun sales at Walmart, it's the crusade to end gun sales period. Walmart is only these people's first stop."

As of late Wednesday afternoon, Duvall's petition had gathered 11 signatures. His goal is 100.

Business on 08/22/2019

Print Headline: Petition targeting Walmart gun sales gets 130,481 signers

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