This week, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America will deliver nearly 300,000 petition signatures calling on the Kroger Family of Stores to ensure the safety and security of its customers and employees by asking guests not to openly carry guns in its stores. Moms members have already made nearly 10,500 phone calls to Kroger Headquarters since August, and today members will begin dropping off petitions at Kroger, Harris Teeter, Fry’s and other Kroger-owned stores in Cincinnati, Ohio – home of Kroger headquarters – as well as ones located in Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. In addition, U.S. Senators and Kroger employees and Kroger customers have joined Moms this week in demanding Kroger to prohibit open carry of firearms in its grocery stores.
“It’s well past time Kroger President & COO Rodney Ellis and CEO W. Rodney McMullen listen to their customers, employees, and elected officials and prohibit open carry inside their stores,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “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. For moms concerned about our children’s safety, that sense of security matters since millions of guns are sold every year in America without a background check and openly carried firearms are unregulated in a majority of states.”
The laws in a majority of states allow people to openly carry loaded rifles in public with absolutely no training, permitting, or minimum age requirement. Combined with estimates that 6.6 million gun sales in America occur without a background check in a single year, this means that people in most states can legally carry loaded rifles in public without ever having passed a criminal background check.
Pressure on Kroger’s leadership continues to grow from concerned stakeholders of all stripes, including Moms, Kroger employees and elected officials. Just this week, inspired by the Moms petition, Mary Mueller, a 7-year Kroger employee, launched her own petition to the Kroger President and CEO circulating among Kroger employees.“Kroger doesn’t allow guns to be openly carried in its corporate headquarters in Cincinnati. Why do they allow it in other Kroger-owned workplaces? All Kroger employees—whether executives, managers, cashiers, or customer service representatives like me—deserve a safe workplace,” Mueller said.
And this past Tuesday, September 30, Senators Murphy, Blumenthal and Feinstein wrote to Kroger’s President and CEO urging them to change their policy by pointing out, “Kroger has a proud history as an innovator within the retail industry. Kroger changed the grocery business by establishing in-store bakeries and deciding to sell meats in the 1900s. […]The company has an opportunity to again be a leader. A change by Kroger, the nation’s largest supermarket retailer, could have a similar effect by setting a new customer-friendly standard that other supermarkets follow.”
Major retailers like Target, Chipotle, Starbucks, Sonic, Jack in the Box, and Chili’s have all changed their gun policy after petitions were launched by Moms Demand Action, and more recently, Panera and New Seasons Market, a chain of more than a dozen grocery stores that compete with Kroger-affiliated stores in Oregon and Washington, proactively decided to adopt a gun sense policy after working with Moms.