Walmart CEO pledges ‘thoughtful’ response to El Paso shooting

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon says the company will respond in a “thoughtful and deliberate” way to the recent fatal shootings at its stores.

But in a post on LinkedIn late Tuesday, he offered no details and company officials say Walmart’s policy on gun sales has not changed.

McMillon thanked store employees and first responders for what he said were heroic efforts that saved the lives of shoppers during the recent shootings at stores in El Paso, Texas, and Southaven, Mississippi.

“We will work to understand the many important issues that arise from El Paso and Southaven, as well as those that have been raised in the broader national discussion around gun violence,” McMillon wrote. “We will be thoughtful and deliberate in our responses, and we will act in a way that reflects the best values and ideals of our company, with a focus on serving the needs of our customers, associates and communities.”

In the wake of the shootings, many people have called on Walmart to stop selling firearms. Walmart is one of the largest sellers of guns and ammunition in the United States. The retailer does not sell all types of weapons: It stopped selling assault style rifles in 2015. It only sells handguns in Alaska and last year it stopped selling any gun to a person younger than 21 years old.

McMillon said he was in El Paso Tuesday meeting with employees and with first responders. He praised the “courageous” associates who put others ahead of themselves. He said the store manager in El Paso was leaving the store and ran back in when he heard the shots.

“As it becomes clearer that the shooting in El Paso was motivated by hate, we are more resolved than ever to foster an inclusive environment where all people are valued and welcomed,” he wrote. “Our store in El Paso is well known as a tight-knit community hub for people in the region, where we serve customers from both sides of the border.”

McMillon said he and employees are struggling to describe their feelings about the shootings, but he noted people are feeling a wide range of emotions, including “shock, anger and grief.”