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EXCLUSIVE: Community scrutinizes Wal-Mart gun sales

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --We did some digging into local gun laws to see if one local retail giant is in compliance. 

The results may surprise you.

Community members are demanding more restrictions be put on gun sales at local Wal-Mart stores. They say, with all the recent youth violence around South Bend, everything needs to be locked up.

In 2011, the Ireland Road Wal-Mart petitioned the City of South Bend to start selling guns again, promising not to sell tactical weapons or handguns.

While ABC 57 did not find handguns, we did find tactical guns and community members say they are worried that these dangerous weapons could end up in the wrong hands.

Reverend Greg Brown is a minister on the city's West Side and all the recent youth violence and shootings has him concerned, but what he said is more alarming is what he heard recently from two of the kids in his youth group.

"They came to me and told me they were offered money to sneak ammunition out of Wal-Mart," said Brown.

That is when Brown decided to take a closer look at the retail giant. Brown took pictures while inside the Wal-Mart off Ireland Road in South Bend. Behind a glass display, his snapshots shows a tactical 12-gauge shotgun for sale.

Next to gun display case, shotgun ammunition sits on the shelves completely accessible to everyone. "You can't even buy alcohol after 3 a.m., but you can buy ammunition," said Brown.

A petition filed by Wal-Mart back in 2011 asked for a special exception to start selling firearms again. The petition states that "ammunition will be kept in locked/secured display cases, with the exception of some shotgun shells", which is what we found we went to the store.

However, Wal-Mart said there would be "no sales of handguns or tactical guns at the store". Yet, ABC 57 found tactical shotguns in plain sight.

"I carry a lifetime gun permit and I am not against the right to bare arms, but I am against assault weapons," said Christine Jacobs.

Walmart said the sell of rifles and shotguns would only be for hunting and target practice, yet the tactical gun manufacturer's website advertises the shotgun as a law enforcement weapon, showcasing the breaching muzzle, which is used to bust the locks on doors.

Concerned parents like Robert Oliver said there is no need to sell that type of weapon in the sporting goods department, just feet from where he shops for toys for his little girl. "If anyone with the wrong mind set comes in, with the wrong thing on their mind, they could easily do anything," said Oliver.

Reverend Brown said this should be a wake up call to the community and that is why he is now pushing for tighter regulations and enforcement of gun sells at Wal-Mart.

Monday, Wal-Mart's attorney, Joe Calderon, said he cannot provide a statement because the South Bend Board of Zoning and Appeals has not contacted Walmart to notify them of any non-compliance issues. However, if Wal-Mart receives something from the city in writing, Calderon said Wal-Mart will make the necessary changes.


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