The spark for Walmart’s action is terrible: deadly shootings at two of its stores this summer, with 24 people slaughtered. Nonetheless, the giant retailer’s realization that “the status quo is unacceptable” should be applauded. Walmart will change its gun policies, ending the sale of ammunition that can be used in military-style assault rifles. By acknowledging it has a role in helping to make the country safer, Walmart hopefully sets an example that other companies — not to mention Congress — will follow.

Walmart on Tuesday waded full-stream into the national gun debate with its unexpected announcement that it will no longer sell certain kinds of ammunition, will completely end the sale of handguns and will prohibit customers from openly carrying guns in its stores, even where doing so is permitted by law. Walmart already had stopped selling assault-style weapons and had imposed age limits and background checks on gun sales that were stricter than federal law.

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