Walmart putting guns, ammo back on the shelves

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. —

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Guns and ammo are back on store shelves at Walmart just hours after they were pulled to the back Friday. The retail giant reversed its decision, stating civil unrest in Philadelphia is isolated to just that area.

In a statement, Walmart told Action News Jax, “After civil unrest earlier this week resulted in damage to several of our stores, consistent with actions we took over the summer, we asked stores to move firearms and ammunition from the sales floor to a secure location in the back of the store in an abundance of caution. As the current incidents have remained geographically isolated, we have made the decision to begin returning these products to the sales floor today.”

The retail giant made the decision to put guns and ammo in a secure back room after reported riots and looting in Philadelphia following a deadly officer involved shooting earlier this week.

Guns and ammo were always for sale, but customers had to ask a sales rep for help.

The move comes just days before the 2020 election. A presidential election usually brings a spike in gun sales.

From January to September in 2019, 862,262 Floridians got a background check for a firearms purchase. The same timeframe in 2020 saw 1,386,486 background checks, which is approximately a 38% jump.

“There’s a huge increase. There’s a lot of people worried about what may happen after an election,” David Phipps said. He is the course operator at Amelia Shotgun Sports in Yulee.

The owner, Dawn Grant, added that they’ve seen a jump in new gun owners coming in with inquiries about what to purchase or for training.

“They were coming in with their new shot gun — they’ve never shot it, never owned one before. And they’re a little shy, but admit they’re buying it for home defense and want to be able to learn how to shoot it,” she said.

Grant said the election year brings uncertainty, but many new buyers are also looking for self defense, especially with civil unrest in places like Philadelphia.