Walmart could be the next battleground in the fight over gun rights in retail chains after a loaded revolver was found in the bathroom of a South Carolina store.
On the afternoon of Saturday, July 12, a man with a concealed carry permit left his gray Smith & Wesson revolver, loaded with five live .38 caliber rounds, atop the toilet paper dispenser in a stall of the rear men's bathroom of a York, South Carolina Walmart, according to a police report.
The gun was returned to its owner on Monday, York police Captain Brian Trail told The Huffington Post.
York police provided photos of the gun and bullets to The Huffington Post. Trail said the station's camera was recently reset and the date in the bottom right corner had not yet been updated.
Although a growing number of corporations have taken a stance against guns in their stores, Walmart has declined to follow suit.
"Our policy is to comply with all state, federal and local laws as it pertains to carrying firearms," Walmart spokesman Brian Nick told HuffPost on Thursday. "We're not considering any changes at this time."
Walmart -- the world's largest retailer, and the nation's biggest seller of firearms -- is no stranger to gun trouble. Last month, two shooters went on a rampage that ended in a Las Vegas Walmart, where shopper Robert Wilcox, 31, was killed after he engaged one of the gunmen with the concealed pistol he carried. In April, a narcotics officer was shot outside a Walmart in New Jersey. And in a similar restroom incident, this one in 2012, a man in Mesa, Arizona accidentally fired a shot in the bathroom of a Walmart after he dropped his gun.
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, the social media-savvy gun-control group that recently pressured Chipotle, Sonic and Chili's into adopting no-gun policies, amplified the Myrtle Beach story nationally.
Weeks later, Target caved to mounting pressure from the group and announced a national policy of asking customers not to bring firearms in its stores. Difficult to enforce, the new rule is seen by many as a largely symbolic move.
A spokeswoman for Moms Demand Action did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
In gun-friendly South Carolina, Target and Walmart play opposite characters in a tale of two big-box retailers.
"Target has fashioned itself as the place you go if you're a savvy, cosmopolitan shopper," Saul Cornell, a Fordham University professor and legal historian of firearm regulation, told HuffPost. "Walmart has cultivated more of a folksy, all-American persona."
Headquartered in Minneapolis, Target is "part of the progressive Midwest," said Cornell. Arkansas-based Walmart, on the other hand, is deeply entrenched in the South, where, over the last quarter-century, the National Rifle Association has propagated a strong Second Amendment orthodoxy.
"This is an interesting one, to see if the Moms' social media campaign can crack South Carolina and crack Walmart," Cornell said. "It's an uphill battle, but if they could, that would be monumental."