After two mass murders in two days, the battle over where guns can be sold in the United States has escalated. The El Paso shooting, which claimed 22 lives, started in a Walmart. Even employees of the world’s largest retailer have begun to protest its policy of selling both guns and ammunition.
Some of America’s largest retailers do not sell guns at all or sell guns that have limited ammunition capacity. Some, like Dick’s Sporting Goods, made their current decision about gun sales policies recently. Others have been in place for some time. Of the country’s 10 largest retailers, nine do not sell guns, with Walmart (2018 retail sales of $388 billion) being the notable exceptions. The rest are Amazon ($121 billion), Kroger ($120 billion), Costco ($101 billion), Walgreens ($98 billion), Home Depot ($97 billion), CVS Pharmacy ($84 billion), Target ($74 billion), Lowe’s ($64 billion) and Albertsons ($60 billion).
Among the top 100 retailers based on 2018 sales, only Dick’s Sporting Goods (2018 sales of $8.25 billion), which no longer sells assault-style rifles and does not sell guns to people under 21 years of age, and a handful of others sell guns.
Although there are few Sears ($7.7 billion) stores left, the company has a no-gun-sales policy. J.C. Penney ($12 billion) does not sell guns, nor do TJ Maxx ($30 billion), Dollar General ($26 billion), Macy’s ($25 billion), Dollar Tree ($22 billion), Ace Hardware ($17 billion) or BJ’s Wholesale Club ($13 billion).
Army & Air Force Exchange ($7.5 billion) stores sell both long guns (rifles and shotguns) and pistols, as do Bass Pro Shops ($6.7 billion), Academy Sports + Outdoors ($4.9 billion) stores and Camping World ($4.8 billion), which sells air and small-caliber pistols, along with some ammunition.
Just seven of the 100 largest U.S. retailers sell guns. Walmart has about 4,800 U.S. stores, Dick’s operates more than 720, Academy Sports has more than 250, Bass Pro Shops has about 180 stores, Fred Meyer has around 130 and Camping World operates 120. The Army & Air Force Exchange operates more than 4,000 stores worldwide, including in all 50 states.
Those numbers, while large, represent about half as many gun stores that are independently owned and operated. According to market research firm IbisWorld, there were nearly 13,000 gun and ammunition stores in the United States last year, which posted total sales of $11 billion.
Correction: A previous version of this piece incorrectly listed Kroger among the stores that currently sell firearms.
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