UPDATE: Walmart has reversed its decision to remove guns and ammunition from store sales floors across the nation. The retail giant initially cited recent protests and rioting following a fatal police shooting in Philadelphia Monday as their reason for taking such a precaution, as the company feared these items might be stolen. They were returned to store shelves Friday.


 

Walmart stores across the nation are pulling guns and ammunition from their sales floors, citing fears that they might be stolen should "civil unrest" break out.

Axios reports that the retail giant made the decision in reaction to looting in Philadelphia following the fatal shooting of 27-year-old Walter Wallace by police Monday. The move is not unprecedented, as the company also removed guns from store shelves during nationwide protests following the fatal shooting of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis on May 25.

A representative of the company told CBS MoneyWatch via email that removing the items is "a precaution for the safety of [their] associates and customers".

Contrary to rumors on social media, Walmart has not stopped selling guns or ammunition. The Wall Street Journal reports that customers can still purchase these items by request.

CNN reports that gun sales have increased in 2020, particularly among first-time buyers and especially among women and Black Americans. Self-defense seems to be the top reason for firearms purchases, though it's normal for gun sales to see an uptick in election years due to concerns that some elected officials will work to restrict certain gun rights. There are also some who fear that the election will not be peaceful or the results broadly accepted.