(Repeats to media clients)
WASHINGTON, Aug 8 (Reuters) - A petition started by a junior Walmart Inc worker in California to protest the retailer’s sale of firearms, following two mass shootings over the weekend left 31 people dead in Texas and Ohio, has gathered nearly 45,000 signatures.
Thomas Marshall, a 23-year-old category manager in San Bruno began his protest by emailing fellow employees and asking them to call in sick on Tuesday, leave work early on Wednesday, and sign a Change.org petition.
The petitihere, which is open to the public, is steadily approaching its goal of 50,000 signatures.
“In light of these recent tragedies — a mere snapshot of the gun violence epidemic plaguing the United States — and in response to Corporate’s inaction, we as employees are organizing several days of action, to protest Walmart’s profit from the sale of firearms and ammunition,” the petition says.
Earlier this week, Walmart told Reuters there had been no change in its policy on gun sales after the mass shootings, one of which took place in a Walmart store.
Years of public pressure led Walmart, the largest U.S arms retailer, to end assault rifle sales in 2015 and in 2018 to raise the minimum age for gun purchases to 21. Some gun control activists and Walmart customers now want the retailer to drop sales of guns and ammunition altogether.
Walmart did not respond to a request for comment on the petition and Marshall’s actions.
Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington Editing by Susan Thomas