After the recent mass-shootings, many people are concerned that buying a gun is too easy. And these voices can be heard not only among anti-gun people but also amid the casual crowd. Some people also accuse big companies like Walmart of facilitating the gun-buying process to a dangerous extent. So one reporter from Business Insider decided to check how really easy it is to buy a gun in Walmart. And the results are kind of reassuring, fortunately.
Hayley Peterson decided to make an investigation about buying a gun in Walmart that she later published in Business Insider. But before buying a gun in a store, she had to know which Walmart stores actually do sell them. However, after hours spent on numerous calls to Walmart shops, it appeared that it is not so easy actually. First of all, Walmart's website doesn't say anything about selling guns.
So she tried to call every store and check which one of them sells guns. She "got through to a human," like she wrote, only three times.
Walmart's main customer-service phone line wasn't helpful in that matter, either. "When it comes to item availability, they don't want us to discuss that because of various reasons," she was told by one of Walmart's employees. Finally, she found one Walmart store selling guns, in Chesterfield, Virginia. So she went there.
And she started to investigate few things "on the ground", like how far is the department that sells guns to the nearest entrance to the store, and how easy and fast you may buy a gun there.
The department was quite far to the entrance, like 100 steps, according to her research. When she finally got there with an intention to buy a gun, she was told that at this moment that's impossible because "there is no authorized firearm seller" that day at work. She was told to come back in the next two days.
Two days later, she was finally ready to buy a firearm in the same store. But when she was filling the documents, another obstacle appeared. Since Walmart has to "background check" all potential buyers, they need documents for that. And the address on her license didn't match her home address. This was an obstacle that she couldn't overcome and was told to come back with a document confirming her home address.
During her visits to Walmart to buy a firearm, Peterson also paid attention if the sales of guns are somehow advertised and how secure overall is the process. She didn't find any advertisement and as for safety, she noticed that all guns are secured with zip ties attached to a metal cord.
Peterson also noticed that the variety of guns for sale is rather poor in Walmart, so someone interested would probably go to a special – dedicated only to guns- store anyway.
"In areas of the country where we sell firearms, we have a long-standing commitment to do so safely and in a compliant manner," said Walmart's spokesman, Randy Hargrove. And Hayley's Peterson investigation seems to confirm his words.