Connecticut senators team up with Feinsten, urge Kroger to ban open carry

Following in the footsteps of Moms Demand Action, three U.S. senators are asking that Kroger ban open carrying of firearms in their stores, claiming that the corporation’s refusal to do so thus far has left the door open for gun rights advocates to exploit the policy.

Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, both of Connecticut, along with California’s Sen. Dianne Feinsten sent a letter to Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen on Tuesday asking the policy be changed.

We write today to urge you to adopt a policy that would prohibit the open carry of firearms in your stores. In doing so, Kroger would be sending an important message about your commitment to the safety of your employees and customers. This would follow similar actions by other retailers, such as Chipotle, Sonic, Chili’s, Target, and most recently Panera Bread.

As you know, gun extremists in several states have exploited the current Kroger policy by flaunting assault rifles as they shopped. These bizarre displays must be terrifying for Kroger employees and customers. There is simply no reason why someone would need an AK-47 to purchase milk, bread, or other basic necessities at a grocery store. However, the current Kroger policy allows for these demonstrations.

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. These two improvements changed the way Americans shopped – not just in Kroger stores but in all grocery stores as they became commonplace. 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.

Again, we urge you to implement a new policy that would prevent the open carry of guns in your stores. Thank you in advance for your consideration and we look forward to your prompt response.

Moms Demand Action put in a similar request to Kroger several weeks ago, but Kroger simply said they would abide by local and state laws and trust that their customers – on both sides of the issue – would be responsible.