Tuesday’s announcement was guaranteed to generate considerable publicity because it came from Walmart, which is to retailing what McDonald’s is to burgers and fries, and because it involved firearms.

Walmart said it will stop selling ammunition for handguns and some short-barrel rifles. The company is also asking customers not to carry guns in its stores, even in states that allow that.

This is interesting, but not likely to be significant in terms of reducing gun violence.

There’s no reason to believe Walmart’s decision will affect Americans’ demand for these products, which remain legal.

Other sellers, undoubtedly including some small, locally owned stores, will make available the ammunition Walmart chooses not to put on its shelves.

Those who accuse Walmart officials of pandering to gun control advocates should remember that this is a free market, and that businesses aren’t required to stock a particular product.

Law-abiding customers might well comply with Walmart’s request not to bring guns into its stores, but this is not likely to dissuade a disturbed person from carrying out a mass attack.

— Jayson Jacoby, Baker City Herald editor

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