Walmart is removing firearms and ammunition from displays across hundreds of its U.S. locations, citing risks from civil unrest as the election nears.
“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,” a Walmart spokesman told The Wall Street Journal.
The retail chain sent a letter on Wednesday to store managers at its 4,700 U.S. stores telling them to pull guns and ammo from store displays “due to the current unrest in isolated areas of the country and out of an abundance of caution.” The products are still available for purchase upon request, according to WSJ.
Walmart has emptied out its firearm displays numerous times in the past, citing similar issues.
Renewed rioting broke out in Philadelphia on Monday and has continued throughout the week after police fatally shot Walter Wallace Jr., a black man who was allegedly threatening officers with a knife. Numerous stores have been busted into and looted and dozens of police officers have been injured trying to contain and stop the violence.
A number of people reportedly involved in the looting have also been shot. As The Daily Wire reports:
As riots spread in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania following the police-involved shooting of a knife-wielding suspect, 11 people were shot while looting businesses.
Fox 29 reporter Steve Keeley was filming the scene outside one looted business when Philadelphia police told him “Looters were shooting looters.” Police also told the reporter that a 50-year-old man who had filled up his car with stolen goods was then carjacked and had all the stolen items stolen from him. In the midst of all this, 11 people were shot.
In addition to the violence against local businesses, a Baptist church also fell victim to the wave of lawlessness. Rioters threw chemicals on the roof of a Vietnamese Baptist church and set it on fire, burning the structure through. Video of the aftermath shows the gutted remains of the house of worship.
Wallace’s father has condemned the violence though he believes his son’s death was needless and is pushing for police officers to approach situations involving people with mental health issues differently.
“I don’t condone no violence tearing up the city, looting of the stores,” Wallace’s father said Wednesday. “I would feel like everybody having respect for my family and my son to stop this violence and chaos that’s going on in this city with people that have businesses.”
Wave of unrest ravaged cities across the United States after George Floyd, a black man, died in police custody on May 25 in Minneapolis. Estimates of the total damage caused during the riots over the summer are as high as $2 billion across just 20 states. The end result could be much higher, especially as racially-motivated protests and riots are primed to continue, as evidenced by the ongoing unrest in Philadelphia.