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Walmart says it won't ban gun sales after weekend's mass shootings. Here's why it stopped selling them in New Mexico

Walmart has made changes to its gun policies before. Sort of.

The entrance to a Walmart in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, June 25, 2019.  The big box chain is converting 160 of its store parking lots across the U.S. into drive-in movie theaters for screenings happening August through October.
This is the entrance to a Walmart in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, June 25, 2019.
Gene J. Puskar, Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — Walmart has no plans to stop selling guns following the mass shooting at a Walmart store in El Paso that left 22 people dead, according to USA Today.

Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove released a statement to USA Today saying that the retailer has been focused on showing care for the victims and their families in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy.

"There’s been no change in policy,’’ he said. ”It’s horrible ... what’s happened.’’

Igor Volsky, founder of the group Guns Down America, told MSNBC that Walmart could change the gun control debate if it stopped selling guns and offered buybacks, according to USA Today.

“Walmart is such a major player ... that if they really decided to lean into this issue, we could see some real change. We should all call on Walmart to do that," Volsky said.

But Walmart has made changes to its gun policies before. As Jennifer Graham wrote for the Deseret News, Walmart ended gun sales in New Mexico back on July 22 after the state passed a new law that requires stores to perform background checks for firearms sales to individual customers.

The law went into effect on July 1.

Though it didn’t specifically mention Walmart, the law requires “any store that sells guns — to include pawn shops and sporting goods stores such as the Utah-based Sportsman’s Warehouse — to also be a place where individuals buying and selling guns can go to transact the sale and obtain the required background check,” according to the Deseret News.

Walmart — which only sells “new, in-the-box guns,” according to Walmart spokeswoman Delia Garcia — decided this was a deal-breaker since “people could be entering the stores carrying guns they purchased elsewhere — and guns that Walmart chooses not to sell, such as AR-15s,” according to the Deseret News.

“Walmart is not currently equipped or designed to service firearms transfers between private parties,” Garcia said in a statement to the Deseret News.