A Bunch of Grocery Stores Realize People Don’t Want Guns as a Part of the Shopping Experience

Photo: Gene J. Puskar (AP)

Walgreens, the second-largest pharmacy chain in America, has prohibited open carry at its stores.

In one of the shortest corporate statements ever, the pharmaceutical/convenient store chain said only law enforcement are exempt. “We are joining other retailers in asking our customers to no longer openly carry firearms into our stores other than authorized law enforcement officials,” the statement read.

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CVS Health also announced on Thursday that it would ask customers to stop bringing firearms into the stores. There was no distinction between open and concealed carry in the company’s statement as there was in the Walgreens statement.

Wegmans, a grocery chain I had not heard of until I moved to the East Coast, announced it would ask customers to refrain from open carry. “There’s nothing more important than the safety of our customers & employees,” Wegmans wrote in a tweet on Thursday. “The sight of someone with a gun can be alarming, and we don’t want anyone to feel that way at Wegmans. For this reason, we prefer that customers not openly carry firearms into our stores.”

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On Tuesday, gun reform advocacy group Moms Demand Action announced that its campaign to ask Kroger to reform its open-carry policy was victorious. The advocacy group started its campaign asking for open-carry reform at Kroger, the nation’s largest grocery chain, in 2014.

Walmart announced on Tuesday it would stop selling certain types of ammunition once its stock was sold after the shooting that ended with nearly two dozen people dead in El Paso. The company will also stop selling guns in Alaska, the last state to still sell firearms at Walmart, CNN reported. The retailer said it sells 2 percent of America’s guns and about 20% of the ammunition sold in the country.

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Walmart also is requesting its customers to not openly carry guns into any Walmart or Sam’s Club stores.

The CEO has also publicly called for gun control without specifically endorsing any bill. “It’s clear to us that the status quo is unacceptable,” CEO Doug McMillon said in a memo, according to CNN.

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I remember the first time I saw someone with a gun in a grocery store. It was an in Safeway in Arizona, and it was incredibly jarring. Years later I cannot think of a reason you would need a gun while browsing a store where the meat has already been killed for you.

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