New Mexico customers looking to buy hunting rifles at Walmart will have to look elsewhere after July 22.
Earlier this month, Walmart announced that it is voluntarily giving up its federal firearms licenses, and will no longer sell firearms in our New Mexico stores. Tiffany Wilson, director of communications for Walmart told the Journal in an email that while Walmart stores in New Mexico don’t sell handguns and modern sporting rifles, a new New Mexico law could put it in the position of having to perform background checks on guns people acquire elsewhere.
“As a general merchandise retailer and grocer, Walmart is not currently designed to conduct background checks for private-party firearms transfers under New Mexico’s new law,” Wilson wrote.
In March, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed Senate Bill 8, which requires background checks on most gun purchases made in New Mexico. The law states that a federal licensed firearms seller “shall not unreasonably refuse to perform a background check” for a prospective seller without a valid license.
As a federal licensed seller, this could put Walmart in a position where employees have to conduct background checks on private-party firearms transfers, Wilson wrote. She added that this could put employees in a position of handling unfamiliar weapons. Additionally, she noted customers might be alarmed by seeing people carrying multiple firearms through the store.
“Unlike a specialty sporting goods retailer where customers expect to see firearms of various types being handled, Walmart customers do not generally expect to see individuals walking through the store potentially carrying multiple firearms,” Wilson wrote.
Walmart stores in New Mexico currently carry a limited number of shotguns and hunting rifles, which will no longer be available after the policy goes into effect on July 22, according to Wilson. The stores will continue to sell ammunition, as well as BB guns, airsoft guns and similar products.