Walmart infamously instituted a no-open-carry policy in a knee-jerk response to shootings in two of its stores last year, but a recent incident highlights that the real problem isn’t customers’ right to carry.
One woman proved that even seemingly harmless items from Walmart’s own shelves can be turned into something capable of deadly destruction.
At a Tampa, Florida, Walmart on Saturday, a security guard noticed a woman wandering the aisles as she opened the store’s merchandise. To the untrained eye, the woman, identified later as 37-year-old Emily Stallard, could have appeared to simply be gathering household supplies.
She picked up a mason jar, a flammable liquid and brad nails — the container, fuel and shrapnel for an improvised explosive device.
The security guard, understandably worried, called the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. He also grabbed the attention of an off-duty Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officer who was inside the store.
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According to WTVT, the police report revealed that Stallard assembled the materials into a makeshift bomb. The woman was attempting to light a shoelace wick before being stopped.
Even worse, the report claims Stallard had a young child with her who was coerced into helping her construct the IED.
It appears as though this wasn’t a personal vendetta or a political statement, as Stallard’s landlord suggested that she may have a mental illness.
The incident in Tampa shows how ludicrous Walmart’s open-carry policy is.
The Arkansas-based retail empire asked customers not to open carry after a 2019 shooting at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart made national headlines. In addition to the policy, the company also rolled back what types of firearms it sold.
Of course, just like gun-free zones, these policies just make shoppers less safe.
As was proven in Tampa, even household supplies found around Walmart can be turned into something deadly. Thankfully, it appears the extent of Stallard’s bomb-making knowledge stopped at using denatured alcohol as fuel for her incendiary device.
For a trained person intent on causing death and destruction, Walmart might as well be a terrorist’s warehouse.
Just as the store’s open-carry policy will readily be ignored by a shooter intent on killing, the (implied) policy of no bomb-building was so easy to get around that a woman with a child was able to construct an IED.
Conversely, encouraging citizens to flex their Second Amendment right to carry inside of stores could be a boon for shoppers.
As was proven in a failed Texas church shooting this past December, in which at least seven churchgoers drew their firearms on the shooter, guns in the hands of responsible citizens is the best security system you can ask for.
While Walmart was lucky to have a sharp-eyed security guard on duty in Tampa, allowing customers more options to carry firearms appears to be a common-sense solution for stores’ safety.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.