Walmart is bringing back the guns and ammunition that it had pulled from sales floors following civil unrest that erupted during the week following the police killing of Walter Wallace Jr. in Philadelphia.
In a statement to FN, the big-box chain announced that it has started to return firearms to stores — some of which had sustained damage over days of protests and lootings in the city where Wallace was killed. The retailer sells guns and ammunition in about half of its 4,700 outposts in the United States.
“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,” a spokesperson told FN. “As the current incidents have remained geographically isolated, we have made the decision to begin returning these products to the sales floor today.”
Demonstrators gathered in the streets of certain parts of Pennsylvania over the past few days after police fatally shot the 27-year-old Wallace on Monday afternoon. A Philadelphia police spokesperson said that the officers ordered Wallace, a Black man and father of nine, to drop the weapon but instead he allegedly “advanced towards” them. The officers then fired “several times,” hitting Wallace in the shoulder and the chest. He was driven to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Over the summer, a similar scene played out across the country when Minneapolis white police officer Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd, who was unarmed. His death on May 25 sparked months of protests over the string of killings of Black Americans at the hands of cops and other would-be authority figures. Thousands of retail storefronts and nationwide chains in the Twin Cities, on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, in New York’s SoHo neighborhood and in downtown Los Angeles, among other major metropolitan cities, had been vandalized or looted during the unrest.
Still, dozens of business owners have taken to social media to voice their support for protesters. What’s more, boldface fashion and footwear firms — including Kith, Nike, Nordstrom and even Walmart — have called out such injustices and/or pledged donations in the fight against racism.