Walmart, the retailer that sold 9mm ammunition for a Glock pistol to accused Arizona mass murderer Jared Lee Loughner, has picked the wrong time to load up its inventory of hunting rifles and bullets.

Rifles, shotguns, and ammunition will be sold at hundreds more Walmart locations around the country - mostly, but not exclusively, in rural areas.

While Walmart struggles to revive recession-trimmed sales, its decision to expand firearms sales is part of a push to attract buyers with so-called heritage categories that appeal to the outdoors set and homebodies alike. (Fabric and sewing supplies will make a reappearance, too.)

Even as the number of households owning guns has declined by 40 percent from its peak in 1977, gun sales are rising nationally.

So what will the greater availability of hunting firearms and ammunition at the nation's biggest retailer mean for gun violence? Maybe the only increased risk will be to creatures who travel on four legs, and only during hunting season.

Good to hear that Walmart plans to continue its policy of not selling handguns, which were discontinued some 20 years ago.

The retailer also recently adopted a code of conduct - under pressure from Mayors Against Illegal Guns - that's designed to ensure gun-sale background checks are done properly.

It's entirely reasonable for Walmart executives to watch the bottom line. But one must hope their sales strategy doesn't come at a high cost to society by making gun purchases more convenient for shoppers bent on violence.