PROBLEM: Ammunition storage has Falls couple ready to fire
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By Paul Lanefirstname.lastname@example.org
That Wal-Mart sells ammunition is no surprise.
The ease with which it can be obtained is what shocked Ryan and Julie Miller during a recent shopping trip.
The Niagara Falls couple went to the Wal-Mart on Porter Road the evening of Sept. 29 to purchase a few items. When browsing the snack aisle with their sons — ages 3 and 11 — they found a box of 100 Winchester shotgun shells mixed in with the potato chips.
They alerted an assistant manager, who along with a manager and corporate official in subsequent conversations told the couple that there wasn’t an issue.
“The (Wal-Mart employee) said they’re just skeet shells. That’s no big deal,” Julie said.
Skeet shells are what shooters use for clay target shooting. These rounds are kept on a shelf in the sporting goods section, with other types of ammunition being stored in a sealed glass case. A driver’s license is required to purchase the shells.
Ryan said he was told Wal-Mart was abiding by state law in storing the skeet shells in the open, but he fears what might happen in a worst-case scenario.
“Too many crazy things happen nowadays,” he said, referring to someone who might use the easily accessible rounds in a mass shooting. “There’s no reason that type of item needs to be laying around the store where my child literally could have picked them up.”
That was also a concern for Julie, who noted that her younger son likes to inspect what he sees in stores.
“God forbid if someone had left the box open. He could have grabbed one and thrown it on the ground or just hit it the wrong way,” she said.
Wal-Mart has been under fire recently in other places including Alabama and Illinois for its ammunition storage practices. A motion to come before the city council in Montgomery, Ala., next week introduced as a result of Wal-Mart’s practices would tighten restrictions in that city on how rounds can be sold and shelved, according to the Montgomery Advertiser.
A Wal-Mart corporate representative did not respond to a request for comment. Wal-Mart officials told the Montgomery Advertiser that the chain abides by all state and local laws in regards to ammunition storage.
The odds of something bad happening may be slim, but the Millers would like to see every available precaution taken.
“They’re dangerous for a 3-year-old to handle,” Julie said. “They’re a safety issue.”