The gun-control advocacy group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America stepped up its pressure on Kroger Co. Thursday by delivering petitions with nearly 300,000 signatures urging the grocery-store chain to prohibit open-carry of guns in its stores.
Kroger officials on Thursday gave no indication they were contemplating changes to their policies.
“Kroger’s policy is to follow state and local laws, and we have requested that all of our customers be respectful of other customers and our associates when shopping in our stores,” Kroger spokeswoman Rachael Betzler said Thursday. “We recognize the sincerity of beliefs held by people on both sides of the gun issue, which we believe is a public policy best determined by lawmakers.”
The Moms Demand Action group said in a release that it intended to deliver petitions to Kroger, Harris Teeter, Fry’s and other Kroger-owned stores in various venues, including Cincinnati, where the company is headquartered, as well as in Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.
Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, issued a statement saying, “When state laws don’t protect children and families, it’s up to businesses that depend heavily on female clientele to put policies in place that protect them on their private property. “
The advocacy group’s news release questioned why Kroger allows open-carry of guns in its grocery stores when it bans the practice in its corporate headquarters.
Some retail chains, including Chipotle, Starbucks and Target, have enacted no-gun policies that stop short of outright bans but which proclaim that guns are not welcome in stores.