National Group to Kroger: No More Guns in Stores

Grocery store giant Kroger is the biggest supermarket chain in America. But after numerous incidents involving gun rights advocates carrying firearms in its stores, a national group called Moms Demand Action has asked it to reexamine its position--and policies--on gun control.

"Kroger is an essential part of American moms' lives. When we take our kids to the supermarket to buy groceries each week, we expect to be safe and secure," Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts said in a statement. "We support the Second Amendment and responsible gun ownership, but ignoring incidences of gun violence in and around stores and allowing [gun rights] demonstrators to open carry loaded weapons through the same aisles that our children pick out their favorite cereals is unacceptable."The group's campaign, which asks the retailer to prohibit customers from bringing firearms into their businesses, was sparked by a photo of a Texas open carry group member wielding a long gun in a Kroger store. While Moms Demand Action has successfully gotten several other retailers to change their gun policies, including Target, Chipotle, and Jack in the Box, Kroger remains unswayed.

"We don't want to put our associates in a position of having to confront a customer who is legally carrying a gun," the retailer said in a statement Monday. "That is why our long-standing policy on this issue is to follow state and local laws and to ask customers to be respectful of others while shopping."

The campaign takes issue with open carry groups, which have used Kroger stores as a site for gun rights demonstrations in which weapons are openly carried during shopping. In a statement, they also cited 16 shootings that have taken place at Kroger stores in the last two years, including an episode in which a woman fatally shot her husband in a Kroger parking lot before also shooting herself.

"As a mom, I can't trust that everybody who's carrying a gun got that gun safely or responsibly and is going to be able to use it in a really responsible way," Karen Hillis-Skipper, a member of Moms Demand Action, told WLWT.

The open carry groups on the other side of the debate have been firm in their opposition to Moms Demand Action's proposal, although their methods--like a video in which members brought assault rifles into a Chili's--have proven controversial even among gun rights groups.

"If a business prevents the carrying of firearms into their establishment, millions of gun owners simply take their business elsewhere," Open Carry Texas said in a statement. "We hope that Moms Demand Action and other gun control groups would do the same."

Moms Demand Action has released a petition asking Kroger to reverse its stance.
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