Citing growing civil unrest occurring around the country, this week Walmart (WMT -0.80%) has pulled all firearms and ammunition from the sales floor in all of its U.S. stores in a bid to thwart looters from stealing them.

Consumers will still be able to purchase guns and ammo. Their removal from display cases is a precautionary action the retailer says it has taken in the past.

Padlocked handgun

Image source: Getty Images.

Better safe than sorry

The Wall Street Journal reports Walmart sent a memo to store managers asking them to take all firearms and ammunition from store shelves "out of an abundance of caution" due to recent "civil unrest." The most recent events include violent protests that have broken out in Philadelphia after police shot and killed a Black man, Walter Wallace Jr., who was holding a knife.

A spokesman for the retailer told the Journal, "We have seen some isolated civil unrest and as we have done on several occasions over the last few years, we have moved our firearms and ammunition off the sales floor as a precaution for the safety of our associates and customers."

The company notes that it similarly removed the weapons from the display cases in the wake of the riots that occurred following the death of George Floyd.

Walmart sells firearms in approximately half of its 4,700 U.S. stores. Firearms demand is at unprecedented levels this year due to civil unrest and calls by some activists and politicians to defund the police. Adjusted FBI data from the National Shooting Sports Foundation shows criminal background checks on potential gun buyers has already exceeded 14.2 million through September, more than were conducted in any of the last three years.

Sturm, Ruger just reported third-quarter earnings showing sales surged 53% year over year while profits quintupled as it witnessed "unprecedented demand" that shows no sign of abating.