Gun Safety

Walmart reacts to petition against gun sales in its stores

Sep 18, 2019

One of the most hotly debated issues – gun violence – is making headlines because of a Change.org petition that was signed by more than 140,000 people. It’s evidence that people like you have the power to influence change on the country’s biggest problems.

In the wake of devastating mass shootings in El Paso, TX, and Southaven, MS, Thomas Marshall knew he had to do something. 

As a Walmart employee, he felt discouraged and angered by Walmart’s inaction around sales of guns and ammunition. After deciding he “would no longer be willingly complicit in a company that continued to make profits off of firearms,” he and his fellow coworkers created a petition that quickly grew to over 140,000+ signatures.

That support helped catapult Thomas’ story into the national spotlight. He was covered by CBS News, NBC News, The Washington Post, NPR, CNN, Democracy Now, USA Today, Fortune, Associated Press, Reuters and many, many more.

Walmart took notice – and retaliated against Thomas and his fellow employees. They were blocked out of their work emails and online networks. Walmart even said it had no plans to change its gun-sales policy, and leadership chided Thomas’ tactics, saying “there are many more constructive avenues for employees to offer feedback.”

Thomas knew his job was on the line, but for him, this issue was bigger than a paycheck. Every week, more lives were being lost due to inaction on gun violence. He sent the petition to Walmart CEO Doug McMillon in late August, saying, “Customers no longer feel as safe as they once did in our stores. We must do more. We have the power to do more.”

And McMillon listened. Two weeks ago, Walmart announced sweeping changes to its gun sales policy. 

Walmart took a major step forward and will stop selling certain types of ammunition for handguns and some rifles, will completely exit the handgun market, and is now asking customers not to openly carry guns in its stores. 

And that’s not all – it’s caused a domino effect. After Walmart’s landmark decision, supermarket and pharmacy chains like Kroger, Wegmans, Albertsons, Aldi, Walgreens and CVS have asked customers not to openly carry guns in their stores. 

In an interview with MSNBC’s The Beat with Ari, Thomas said, “We are incredibly grateful and impressed by the direction Walmart is now going. This is something that is incredibly hard to change in this country, and we are hoping that this will set a paradigm and a precedent to help curb this horrible trend of mass shootings and violence in this country…There was a lot of pressure from on high not to speak out, but I’m incredibly glad we did.”

This major change is what people power is all about. It’s why we are proud that our mission provides a place for people like Thomas Marshall to create a petition and make a real difference.

But Thomas still needs your help. He wants to see continued change and advocacy from Walmart – please add your signature to his petition if you support common-sense gun policy and keep the momentum growing.

Thank you for taking action on the issues that matter to you. Together, we have the power to make a real-life impact.