Starting on July 22, 2019, Walmart will no longer sell firearms in New Mexico.
A spokesperson for the retail giant told local media that the decision was in response to the July 1st rollout of the state’s new universal background check law.
“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, which can lead to confusion and potentially putting both our customers and associates at risk,” Walmart spokeswoman Tiffany Wilson told KOAT.
SEE ALSO: New Mexico Legislature Passes Background Check Bill, Sheriffs Say They Will Not Enforce It
While there are certain exemptions in the law for antique firearms and sales between family members, the majority of transfers, including those made over the Internet and at gun shows, must be done via a federal firearms licensee who is responsible for processing the background check on the prospective purchaser (or transferee).
Anyone caught violating the law can be charged with a misdemeanor offense, which carries a maximum penalty of up to one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. Unless you visit an FFL and pay them to process the background check (It’s not a free service), the act of simply selling or loaning a gun to a hunting buddy or range pal is now a criminal offense!
The law also forces any business with an FFL to conduct background checks for private parties. In other words, Walmart couldn’t just continue to sell its inventory of firearms to its customers. It had to get into the business of transferring guns between private buyers and sellers if it wanted to sell guns in the state.
Clearly, Walmart felt it was better to stop selling guns altogether. Time will tell if other major retailers follow suit.