NEW YORK (AP) — Walmart has ordered workers to remove video game signs and displays that depict violence from stores nationwide after 22 people died in a shooting at one of its Texas stores, but the big box retailer will continue to sell guns.
In an internal memo, the retailer told employees to remove any violent marketing material, unplug Xbox and PlayStation consoles that show violent video games and turn off any violence depicted on screens in its electronics departments.
Employees also were asked to shut off hunting season videos in the sporting goods department where guns are sold. “Remove from the salesfloor or turn off these items immediately,” the memo said.
Walmart will still sell the violent video games and hasn’t made any changes to its gun sales policy, despite pressure from workers, politicians and activists to do so.
“We’ve taken this action out of respect for the incidents of the past week,” Walmart spokeswoman Tara House said in an email. She declined to answer any questions beyond the statement.
Detractors panned the move as an empty gesture aimed a deflecting criticism rather than solving a problem.
“That is a non-answer and a non-solution,” said Thomas Marshall, who works at Walmart’s e-commerce division in San Bruno, California, and has helped organize a petition to get the company to stop selling guns. He said they plan to email the petition, which has more than 53,000 signatures, to Walmart CEO Doug McMillon on Friday.
After the massacre at the El Paso Walmart this weekend, McMillon said the company “will be thoughtful and deliberate in our responses.”
After the mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school last year, Walmart Inc. banned sales of firearms and ammunition to people younger than 21. It had stopped selling AR-15s and other semi-automatic weapons in 2015, citing weak sales.