Walmart has decided to remove displays and signs of violent video games in its stores while continuing to sell guns. The move comes in response to the recent mass shootings, two of which took place inside its stores.
“We’ve taken this action out of respect for the incidents of the past week, and this action does not reflect a long-term change in our video game assortment,” Walmart spokeswoman Tara House said.
Vice was first to report that memos circulating online, allegedly from Walmart’s corporate headquarters, directed employees to remove video game signage and displays “that contain violent images or aggressive behavior” and to “turn off or unplug any video game display consoles that show a demo of violent games.” They also instructed employees not to play “movies depicting violence” or “hunting videos” in the stores.
Apparently Walmart is telling its employees to take down displays that show violent video games, specifically shooters, as well as movies and hunting videos. pic.twitter.com/2N3t4B86tf
— Kenneth Shepard (@shepardcdr) August 7, 2019
Conversely, Walmart, one of the largest sellers of guns and ammunition in the United States, is planning no changes regarding gun sales, according to spokesman Randy Hargrove.
Walmart’s move comes after President Donald Trump, other Republicans and pundits on Fox News have attempted to make a connection between video games and recent mass shootings. But no such connection has been proven. Video games are available all over the world, but America is extremely rare, if not unique, in prevalence of gun violence.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) placed the responsibility for gun violence on gun distributors like Walmart and called out the company on Twitter on Friday, saying, “Companies that sell guns have a responsibility to the safety of their communities. Walmart is one of the largest gun retailers in the world. The weapons they sell are killing their own customers and employees. No profit is worth those lives. Do the right thing—stop selling guns.”
Companies that sell guns have a responsibility to the safety of their communities. @Walmart is one of the largest gun retailers in the world. The weapons they sell are killing their own customers and employees. No profit is worth those lives. Do the right thing—stop selling guns.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) August 9, 2019