As the Historic Westside Village Walmart on Martin Luther King Drive continues it's week-long Grand Opening celebration, community members expressed their joy to see that no guns will be sold at "our Walmart."
The Walmart Corporation quickly decided to stop selling the Bushmaster Assault Rifle on its world-wide website days after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, in which a young man killed a large number of elementary school children in Connecticut using that exact gun.
Established Walmart stores still carried the guns and continue to sell them at store locations, but they are no longer available from Walmart.com.
Interestingly, during the course of building the new Walmart on MLK Drive, the leaders of Walmart in Georgia met multiple times with business, community, and local political leaders to mesh the corporations store offerings with the communities needs and desires. In those meetings, which occurred over the past year, it was decided that Assault Rifles and all firearms were NOT welcome in our community.
Due to the community speaking up and their Atlanta City Council representative, Ivory Young's voice, Walmart opened its Historic Village store with no firearms for sale. Other leaders such as Councilwoman Joyce Sheperd and Mayor Kasim Reed told Cascade Patch that they were proud of Walmart for following that decision and are happy to see that there is not a gun section in this particular Walmart.
Off camera I spoke with Major Quiller of the Zone 1 Atlanta Police Department about the decision and he agreed that it was also a good choice and that it would help the department in its mission to "keep the community safe." He said that in Atlanta most of the firearm crime is done with handguns, most likely due to their, "portability and ease of concealing," but that Walmart's move locally will help police officers.
Major Quiller stated that the department does find its share of assault rifles, but fortunately they are not frequently used during the act of a crime in metro Atlanta. According to Quiller most of the assault rifles that Atlanta Police find and confiscate are discovered inside homes during raids and/or when serving warrants.
When asked about crime potentially gravitating to the Walmart and its parking lot, Major Quiller of Zone 1 told me that he has just assigned 4 officers to work that specific corridor and their mission is to keep crime and opportunists at bay and far from shoppers.
It is important to note that the Walmart is still selling BB Guns and Rifles. The BB guns are plastic replicas that fire small BB pellets. They often look just like real guns, other than that the nozzle of the barrel is usually painted a bright red color. The problem is that some young criminals choose to use these fake looking guns to commit crimes and hold-up people for their personal items, and victims can not tell the difference. When criminals paint the tip of the gun black it is often too hard to tell whether the gun is real or not.
To this point, Major Quiller wanted all the criminals to know that if caught using a fake or real gun during the act of a crime the criminal still receives a serious charge and sentencing just as if he used a real firearm.