MSNBC Cheers Walmart Move to Reduce Gun Sales

Ruhle praises CEO for choosing to 'step up at a time like this'

September 3, 2019

MSNBC anchors Ali Velshi and Stephanie Ruhle on Tuesday praised Walmart for choosing to "step up" and limit what guns and ammunition it will sell in stores.

Walmart moved to stop selling ammunition for handguns and so-called assault weapons, such as the AR-15, saying its decision was spurred by the August 3 shooting at a Walmart in El Paso. Velshi and Ruhle enthusiastically greeted the news on their eponymous daytime show, with Ruhle singling out Walmart CEO Doug McMillon for recognition.

"To see Doug McMillon, the current CEO, sort of stand up and step up at a time like this. This is a massive move," Ruhle said.

Velshi, a frequent critic of the NRA and the "gun lobby," said Walmart does not need firearm sales to maintain its profits, implying the company made a smart business move. But, he said, the retailer will take heat from Second Amendment advocates.

"The NRA, I'm sure momentarily, will come out with a statement criticizing this," Velshi said.

Ruhle and Velshi agreed the issue is not so easy to discuss elsewhere in the country, where gun ownership is common.

"We can sit here in a newsroom and say this is a very clear-cut issue—it's not a clear-cut issue, gun culture is a really important part of America," Ruhle said.

Walmart will also stop selling handguns in Alaska, the only state where it sells those guns.

Velshi described AR-15s as the guns "that have been used in pretty much every mass killing we've reported on in the last several years," although the AR-15 is far from the only gun to be used in mass shootings. Most mass shootings have not been carried out with an AR-15; Mother Jones's data show semiautomatic handguns are more common in mass shootings, and decades of data show handguns are used most in gun crime overall.

Besides this change in stocking ammunition, Walmart also asked employees to remove signs and playable demos of violent video games from stores.