Supermarket chain Kroger has asked customers not to openly carry firearms in its nearly 2,800 stores, even in states where open carry is legal — following a similar announcement by Walmart CEO Doug McMillon on Tuesday after a spate of deadly mass shootings in the United States.
Kroger’s previous firearms policy had been to follow state and local open-carry laws, while asking customers to “be respectful of others while shopping.” But in a statement on Tuesday, the company acknowledged “the growing chorus of Americans who are no longer comfortable with the status quo and who are advocating for concrete and common sense gun reforms.”
“Kroger is respectfully asking that customers no longer openly carry firearms into our stores, other than authorized law enforcement officers,” Jessica Adelman, group vice president of corporate affairs, said in a statement.
“We are also joining those encouraging our elected leaders to pass laws that will strengthen background checks and remove weapons from those who have been found to pose a risk for violence.”
The Cincinnati, Ohio-based grocery chain is the latest retailer to change its policies on open carry and firearm sales in the wake of gun violence.
Kroger had already stopped selling firearms and ammunition in all its Fred Meyer locations in March 2018, after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting. Around that time, Dick’s Sporting Goods also stopped selling assault-style rifles and high-capacity magazines in its stores, and Walmart raised the minimum age for firearm and ammunition purchases to 21.
Walmart’s latest announcement on Tuesday came a month after 22 people were killed in a mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas and two Walmart employees were killed in a separate incident in a Southaven, Mississippi store.
McMillon announced that the retailer will stop selling handgun ammunition and short-barrel rifle ammunition, while asking customers to stop openly carrying guns in Walmart and Sam’s Club stores. “We know these decisions will inconvenience some of our customers, and we hope they will understand,” McMillon said. “As a company, we experienced two horrific events in one week, and we will never be the same.”