The tragic shootings of last weekend made a profound impact on the country, raising many questions, giving rise to many fears, and reigniting the controversy regarding video games and their link to acts of violence. While the research and statistics claim otherwise, many still cast the blame on video games when it comes to mass shootings; even when the shooters themselves claim completely different motives.
Regardless, many have urged Walmart to stop selling firearms and ammunition in the wake of the mass shootings, but as one of the largest sellers of firearms in the world, it was practically guaranteed that Walmart wasn’t going to do that. Indeed, they’ve made it very clear that they have no plans to change their sale of guns and ammo. They are however, taking down violent video game displays in their stores.
Walmart often uses video game displays that show actual gameplay or trailers from the game in question. With games that have guns in particular, there is some concern that the sounds of gunshots, virtual or not, could cause a panic within the store before people realize where it is coming from.
“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,” said Walmart spokesperson Tara House.
Alongside this change, Walmart will stop playing violent movies in the entertainment section, and hunting films in the hunting section, for the same reason as listed above.
“We will work to understand the many important issues that arise from El Paso and Southaven, as well as those that have been raised in the broader national discussion around gun violence,” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in a memo to employees.
It’s worth noting that, as stated previously by Tara House, this does not in any way mean that Walmart is going to change what it sells. It will continue to sell firearms, ammo, violent games and movies. And even this change of displays and demos is likely only a temporary reverence for those that lost their lives in the mass shootings last weekend.
With the controversy over violent video games and acts of gun violence rising, it’s no small wonder that some people will likely be unhappy with this, though anyone that expected one of the country’s largest retailers to outright stop selling certain goods were deluding themselves. The bottom line is still their primary concern and they certainly aren’t going to alienate a massive source of profit in the form of gamers.
Still, it is good to know that they are acknowledging the gravity of the situation and questioning how they can put meaningful thought and consideration into it.