MISSOULA - A new poll shows that nearly 40% of Montanans are less likely to shop at Walmart after the chain announced an end to selling handguns and limiting their ammunition inventory.
The Big Sky Poll is conducted by a group at the University of Montana.
While some Missoula residents voiced their concern of the new policy, it seems that their overall opinion of Walmart hasn't changed.
"I don’t shop at Walmart for my handguns and ammunition anyway, so I don’t know if it changes a lot,” Missoula resident Janell Johnson said.
Some say the change will benefit smaller gun shops.
"it’s a good thing for smaller local business and gun shops because they will have more people coming in more foot traffic," Missoula resident Erik McCarthy said.
But others say it’s a good thing for different reasons.
"I’m more on the gun control side so I think it’s a good step and more companies should take it," Caden Reed said.
"To think that they are willing to take that step when you know they are going to get blow back from special interests like the NRA I thinks it’s, well I don’t want to use the word impressive for Walmart, but it’s a good step,” John Kocurek said.
The Big Sky Poll recently released the results they got for the question “Walmart is discontinuing the sale of certain short-barrel rifle ammunition, as well as handgun ammunition and discontinuing handgun sales entirely. Are you more or less likely to shop at Walmart due to this announcement?”
The poll says 40 percent of respondents were less likely to shop at Walmart now, and 37 percent reported being more likely.
Sara Rinfret, chair of the UM Department of Public Administration and Policy, says she's most interested in the significant portion of undecided respondents. About 27 percent of respondents preferred not to answer the question.
"I think that’s indicative of Montanans, too. They are thinking about their right to use guns, but not necessarily wanting to talk about it," Rinfret said.
But those who are willing to talk about it seem to agree on one thing.
"No, it doesn’t change my opinion of Walmart," Reed said.
"I don’t think it changes my opinion of Walmart itself at all," Johnson said.
"Walmart will always be Walmart,” McCarthy said.
The Big Sky Poll is sent out twice a year, the next poll will be sent out next spring.