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Kroger announces change to firearms policy, asks customers not to open carry in stores

Kroger joins Walmart by asking customers to refrain from openly carrying guns in stores.

A customer exits a Kroger grocery store in Flowood, Miss., Wednesday, June 26, 2019.
AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

National supermarket chain Kroger followed Walmart’s lead on Tuesday by asking customers not to openly carry guns in stores, including in states that allow “open carry” of firearms.

The announcement follows a string of mass shootings in the United States in recent weeks.

The move would affect its nearly 2,800 stores across the country, including some 130 Smith’s Food and Drug stores in Utah and the Southwest.

In a statement to CNBC, the company affirmed that it recognizes “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.”

The statement marks a change from Kroger’s previous firearms policy, which had been to follow state and local laws relating to guns. According to The Washington Post, only three states (as well as the District of Columbia) prohibit people from openly carrying guns in public, while the rest of the country allows some form of open carrying.

“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 Tuesday’s statement, according to The Washington Post. “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.”

Kroger joins Walmart in calling for change following mass shootings that have shaken the country over the last few weeks. Walmart chief executive Doug McMillon said in a memo to employees that “the status quo is unacceptable.”

This is not the first time that Kroger has made changes to its policies on guns. Following the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, in 2018, Kroger announced that it would no longer sell firearms or ammunition at its Fred Meyer store locations, The Washington Post reported.

Tuesday’s announcement comes in the wake of a mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, in which 22 people were killed, according to The Associated Press.