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Walmart removes video game signage

American retailer Walmart has ordered staff to remove any signage and displays that contain “violent images or aggressive behaviour”, following a number of mass shootings in the US.

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Two shootings took place in Walmart stores in the same week

Users on Twitter posted an internal communication from Walmart that instructed staff members to turn off or unplug any video game display consoles that show a demo of violent games, cancel any events promoting combat style or third-person shooter games, verify that no movies depicting violence are playing in store, turn off any hunting season videos and check all signs throughout the store and remove any that reference combat or third-person shooter games.

Walmart is one of the biggest sellers of firearms and ammunition in the US selling guns in around half of its 4,700 U.S stores.

A spokesperson told VICE: “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.”

On July 30th, a gunman shot two Walmart employees and injured a police officer at a Walmart in Mississippi. On August 3rd, another gunman killed 22 people and injured 24 more in a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas.

President Donald Trump responded to the events, blaming, in part, “gruesome and grisly” video games. Research has rejected that idea and has shown that playing video games actually reduces crime and when a new violent game is released, crime goes down. The US homicide rate is so much higher than other countries because assaults are three times more likely to involve guns, and therefore more likely to turn lethal.

Speaking anonymously to VICE, a Walmart employee says: “I went into work yesterday and they handed me a copy of the instructions to remove the violent signage and gaming displays.

"And I immediately threw it away because it’s obviously a way to shift the blame from the real problem regarding the mass shootings. I didn’t get to confirm this yesterday but they aren’t doing anything about the sales of guns and ammo in the store."

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