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UPDATE 2-Walmart tells staff to pull violent video game signage from stores

Nandita Bose

(Adds comment from Walmart employee, background)

Aug 9 (Reuters) - Walmart Inc said on Friday it has asked employees at its stores across the United States to take down signs and playable demos of violent video games but has made no changes to its policy on selling firearms.

The retailer said it has taken the action following the mass shootings in Texas and Ohio in the past week, which left 31 people dead.

In an internal memo, the retailer asked employees to check their stores for signage or displays that contain violent or aggressive behavior and remove such items immediately. It also instructed employees to turn off hunting season videos.

The company has come under increasing pressure to act in the past few days. A petition started by a junior Walmart worker in California to protest the retailer's sale of firearms has gathered more than 50,000 signatures on Friday. The petition will be sent to the company's chief executive officer, Doug McMillon, on Friday.

Thomas Marshall, an employee in San Bruno California who began the petition, told Reuters the decision to remove signage and displays of violent video games is good but not enough.

"They said they will be thoughtful and careful about their response, so we are respectful of that ... but I disagree with violent video games and signage being the cause of what we are seeing in the United States," Marshall said.

"They need to take some concrete step with the weapons they sell in their stores."

Walmart told Reuters there has been no change in its policy on gun sales after the recent mass shootings, one of which took place in a Walmart store. It has also made no changes to its policy on selling violent video games in its stores.

Years of public pressure led Walmart, the largest U.S arms retailer, to end assault-rifle sales in 2015 and to raise the minimum age for gun purchases to 21 in 2018.

Some gun control activists and Walmart customers now want the retailer to drop sales of guns and ammunition altogether. (Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington; Additional reporting Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Maju Samuel)