Walmart instructs stores to remove ads for violent videogames after shootings

This Walmart PR Tactic in the Wake of the El Paso Shooting Is Embarrassing and Inadequate

Senator Elizabeth Warren called on Walmart Friday to stop selling guns in the wake of the massacre targeting Latinos in El Paso, telling the company such weapons are "killing their own customers and employees".

Vice reported that Walmart employees received memos from corporate headquarters asking for the immediate removal of "signing and displays referencing violence".

Walmart (WMT) is requiring stores to remove violent, gun-related displays including those for violent video games, but it has not indicated it will stop selling guns.

Last Saturday the tragic mass shooting in an El Paso Walmart left 22 people dead after a shooter opened fire.

Walmart sells guns in about half of its 4,750 US stores but ceased sales of assault rifles four years ago. "Remove from the sales floor or turn off these immediately". No videos or video games that depict violence will be removed from shelves and there is no change in the company's policy regarding gun sales.

In a statement, a Walmart spokesperson told USAToday that the memo was genuine and that Walmart has "taken this action out of respect for the incidents of the past week, and this action does not reflect a long-term change in our video game assortment".

Video games do not cause violence.

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ABC News' Joshua Hoyos contributed reporting.

Following the El Paso shooting, President Donald Trump placed blame on video game makers, seeking to link titles such as "Call of Duty" with a rise in gun violence. Despite its massive reach, Walmart is behind both Amazon and GameStop when it comes to video game sales. About 20% were interested in violent video games, compared with 70% of the general population, he explained in his 2017 book "Moral Combat: Why the War on Violent Video Games Is Wrong".

There have been some other reports that this halt is not a mandate at a nationwide level (despite the quote from Jenkins indicating otherwise), but a decision made at a per-store level.

Walmart is making changes to the video game and hunting departments, but it's not doing anything new about guns. There have been some - NBC notes that "the 2011 shooting in Arizona, in which 18 were shot, and the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting, in which 49 people were killed" involved guns or ammo from Walmart.

The Cincinnati Bengals went on to announce that alongside the NFL Foundation they are donating $85,000 to help aid victims of Sunday's shooting in Dayton, which killed nine people.

But again, Walmart is still selling actual guns that can be used to inflict real-life violence, which seems like a more pressing matter no matter how you slice it.

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