On Tuesday Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR) made announcement urging its customers to stop carrying firearms openly to its stores even in states where the law permits citizens to openly carry firearms. The announcement came hours after retail chain Walmart Inc. (NYSE:WMT) made a similar request to customers. The only exempted people who can carry firearms are law enforcement officers.
Kroger and Walmart call for strict background checks for gun holders
The move by the companies comes in the middle of a wave of mass shootings that have occurred in the US recently including two at Walmart outlets. The companies have called for the government to strengthen background checks on gun owners. Walmart has also indicated that it will soon stop sales of some ammunition and firearms.
Kroger has indicated that asking customers to cease open carrying of guns to its stores is a change in its policy. Jessica Adelman the VP of corporate affairs indicated that they have followed local and state laws on the issues. She added that the company was also supporting legislators to enact laws that will strengthen background checks and thus effectively remove firearms from individuals who pose a risk for violence.
Kroger stopped selling firearms and ammunition in their 45 Fred Meyer stores last March citing decreasing consumer demand for guns. The company had previously ceased selling firearms to people below 21 as well as also pulled sales of magazines of “assault rifles.”
Growing mass shootings in the US
In recent years the frequency of mass shooting in the US has grown and as a result, major companies have faced the burden of addressing their role in the crisis. The announcement comes days after a shooter killed seven people in Odessa, Texas days after back-to-back shooting with one involving a Walmart store in El Paso Texas where 22 lives were lost.
Walmart has indicated that they will take a non-confrontational approach to deal with the matter by having signage outside their stores about the request.