Former Walmart U.S. CEO Bill Simon said gun sales should be regulated by state and federal legislators, not by retailers.
"[Gun violence] is a crisis and needs to be dealt with," Simon said Tuesday on CNBC's "Power Lunch.
"Businesses can be part of the solution," Simon said. But simply not selling guns anymore would not solve the problem, he argued.
"In fact, it would probably make it more dangerous," said Simon, who now serves on the board of Darden Restaurants, an American multibrand restaurant operator.
"If they are legal, and they are today, you want responsible retailers selling [guns] so they can be documented and videotaped and tracked," he said. "Responsible retailers help the police in the event something happens."
Simon was responding to a DealBook column in The New York Times on Monday in which Times columnist and CNBC anchor Andrew Ross Sorkin argued that if Washington "shows little interest in limiting the sales of assault weapons" then maybe businesses should.
"There's a real opportunity for the business community to fill the void and prove that all that talk about moral responsibility isn't hollow," Sorkin wrote.
Sorkin pointed out that businesses such as Paypal and Square have long said they won't permit consumers to buy firearms on their platforms. He suggested Mastercard and Visa should follow suit and refuse to do business with retailers that sell assault weapons — including AR-15 semiautomatic rifles, the same kind used in the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, in which 17 people were killed. If they did so, retailers would stop selling firearms because they don't want to be cut off from the credit card system, Sorkin wrote.