I’m not an alarmist. If it’s conspiracy theories you want, talk to Oliver Stone. I’m NOT your guy. I prefer to dig for facts and work patiently and carefully towards an operational theory. Then run up the flagpole a few times and/or test it to destruction. You won’t catch me runnung around crying “the oceans are rising! The oceans are rising!” So I mention this bit of local news with mixed feelings. After all, this is raw data—no interviews, no in-depth reporting and no confirmed quotes from management. But TTAG’s on the job. We will get to the bottom of this as soon as humanly possible. So, lemme tell you what happened to me this evening . . .
I was heading over to my local gun range for some much-needed practice time with my faithful 1911 and my 870 Wingmaster. As a little lagniappe (that’s a Louisiana/Acadiana French term for “a little extra” for those of you not raised in the Bayou State), I brought along my dad’s S&W .38 Special. Unfortunately, he had some hollow-points, but no practice rounds.
So I stopped at the Walmart that was conveniently located on the way to the range, to avail myself of some .38 Special roundball.
Keep in mind, I’ve been told that the Great Ammunition Shortage is a Thing of the Past. So much to my surprise did I arrive at Les Mart du Wall only to find they were sold out of .38 Special ammo. and .45 ACP ammo. And 9mm Ammo. In fact, they were sold out of every kind of pistol and rifle ammo. Period. One big glass case stood as empty testament to fact that Walmart had no ammo. None. Nada. Nyet. Bupkis. Not one, single, solitary round.
But that wasn’t the Big Surprise. No, my Shocked Site O’ the Day was to find that this particular Walmart has, apparently, (and according to two employees) HAS STOPPED SELLING AMMO ALTOGETHER.
Let me repeat that for those of you that aren’t paying close attention: This particular Walmart is no longer selling ammunition.
I asked several employees. Most were unaware of anything but the Walmart policy that customers are prohibited from purchasing more than six boxes of ammo per day. One employee told me that he’d heard they’d planned to stop selling ammo altogether, and added “this Walmart has never sold any kind of guns at all.”
That was true, as far as what I could see. This Walmart (a big new one, by the way) was missing the usual gun display case filled with shotguns. Now to be fair, theyt did have an impressive stock of birdshot and buckshot. But nary a handgun or rifle round to be seen.
I left, sans-ammo, and fired up my iPhone. Walmart’s website is not helpful in this regard. “Firearms and ammunition are only available at Wal-Mart stores licensed to sell firearms.” Yes, well, clicking on “store items” yields Airsoft ammo, Nerf darts and a book on ammo: Ammo & Ballistics 4–For Hunters, Shooters, and Collectors: Ballistic Data Out to 1,000 Yards for Over 169 Calibers and Over 2,400 Different Loads. Of bullets and guns there are none.
I went on down the road to the range. The counter guy there told me that he’d heard that Walmart was getting out of the ammo biz because they couldn’t compete with Bass Pro Shops and Academy Sports & Outdoors, and they were concerned about legal liability issues.
Pause with me for a nanosecond.
When have you ever—and I mean EVER— heard of Walmart backing down from stiff competition or controversy? Walmart is the 800 lb. gorilla in the room. Yhey are the ones that drive the OTHER guys out of business. Not the other way around.
The idea that Walmart would worry about liability is laughable. What about tires? Ladders? Toxic chemicals? Cribs? Are they gonna stop selling everything that could potentially trigger a lawsuit? Give me a break.
Now I don’t doubt that the guy at the range heard that. He might have even heard it from a Walmart employee. But as to the accuracy of the reasons given, I have my doubts. In point of fact, Walmart corporate states in a PDF file that they carry a liability policy that covers them for up to $10,000,000 for guns, ammunition, bows and arrows.
Bloggo, the dog boy blog rang up on this subject Walmart eight days ago. The corporate shill told him “One, Walmart has its buyers out there buying all the ammo that they can get so they can stock their stores, and: Two, Walmart is NOT getting out of the ammo business, has no intention of that, isn’t doing anything fishy. They just can’t sell what they can’t get delivered to them.”
So what’s the straight story? I don’t know yet. It was too late to call Walmart HQ to get a comment from Walmart’s head honchos. But I’m on it. I’ll get you details, as accurate as possible, as soon as possible. And whatever the story, you’ll read it here on TTAG.