J.P. Suarez, the chief compliance officer for Wal-Mart Stores Inc., appeared with gun-control advocate Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York to announce the changes at a gathering of Bloomberg's group Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
Changes to come at about 1,100 Wal-Mart stores selling guns include:
-creating a record and alert system to record when a gun sold at Wal-Mart is later used in a crime. If the purchaser of that gun later tries to buy another gun at Wal-Mart, the system would alert the sales clerk of the prior buy and could refuse to make the sale.
-retaining the recorded images of gun sales in case law enforcement wants to view them later as part of an investigation.
-expanding background checks of employees who handle guns and expanding inventory controls.
Suarez said the tougher standards would come with some additional cost to the company.
"The costs are, we think, part of what it takes to be responsible. Everything is not pain-free," he said, adding that small sellers can implement many of the same rules.
He did not say how long it would take to implement all the changes, but noted that software must be created for an internal log of guns later used in crimes.
Suarez said his company might receive some pressure from gun rights groups, but added, "This is not a signal that we're getting out of firearms."
Bloomberg urged other companies to join Wal-Mart in the initiative called the Responsible Firearms Retailer Partnership.
"We didn't pressure them; they're doing it because they think it's the responsible thing to do," said Bloomberg.