Mega-store giant Walmart announced Thursday that it would temporarily remove advertising displays for violent video games following two shootings in Walmart stores in the past few weeks.
The massive retailer told USA Today in a statement that the decision was made out of respect for victims in the two shootings and did not represent a “long-term” policy for the company.
“We’ve 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,” spokeswoman Tara House told the newspaper.
The move comes after 22 people were killed in El Paso, Texas, at a Walmart store near the city’s Cielo Vista Mall on Saturday. The violence was done by a suspect who police say posted racist and anti-immigrant rhetoric in a manifesto online before his attack.
There was a separate shooting at a Walmart in Mississippi last Tuesday that resulted in the deaths of two Walmart managers and was purportedly carried out by a disgruntled ex-employee.
Police in Missouri say a man was arrested Thursday night after allegedly showing up at a Walmart wearing a bulletproof vest and carrying a rifle.
Earlier this week, a total of 40 of the company’s employees staged a walkout at an e-commerce office in California on Wednesday, urging the retailer to stop selling firearms in the wake of the shootings.
Democrats have called for action on gun control in the wake of the El Paso shooting as well as two other mass shootings within the past two weeks in Dayton, Ohio and Gilroy, Calif. They have pointed to the white supremacist ideologies reportedly espoused by two of the shooters as a cause for federal action.
Republicans including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and President have blamed the influence of violent media in recent days for much of the violence, accusing media of glorifying violence.
“We must stop the glorification of violence in our society,” Trump said Monday following two shootings over the weekend. “This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace.”