Upping the ante in the campaign to force Kroger to prohibit open carry in its supermarkets, Moms Demand Action funded a telephone poll to ask shoppers how they feel about guns in grocery stores.
The survey reached 800 Kroger shoppers — half of whom saying they owned guns — in 31 states where open carry is permitted and 64 percent think customers should not be allowed to openly carry guns inside the grocery stores.
Moms has been locked in a protracted struggle with the grocery giant over the company’s perceived blessing of open carry in its stores. However, a small margin of respondents were willing to commit to extreme ends.
Some 11 percent said they would “definitely not shop there if customers were permitted to openly carry guns,” while some 5 percent would “definitely not shop there if Kroger bans open carry.”
Moms plans to present the data, along with a petition signed by 300,000 supporters, at Kroger’s headquarters in Cincinnati today and tomorrow during the company’s annual Investor Conference.
“We are asking Kroger leadership directly: Why are you siding with gun extremists, rather than mothers and the majority of Kroger shoppers, who support ending open carry in Kroger stores?” said Moms founder, Shannon Watts, in a statement released with the poll results.
Instead of showing up en masse at the headquarters to counter, state gun rights group Ohio Carry has asked its supporters to go to their local Kroger, without long arms, and give the store manager a thank you note.
“If we show up [at the headquarters], we create that conflict piece that the news sucks up and loves to spread,” the group said on Facebook. “[Moms] would use that perceived conflict to make this nationwide news and KEEP Kroger in the news even though they do not want to be. We DO NOT want to do that to Kroger, and will NOT give MDA the extra recognition here.”
Citing earlier counter protests — when Mom’s evoked a public response at Star Bucks about its open carry policy — Ohio Carry said it’s shifting its strategy.
“We don’t want this to even be about guns; we want to show Kroger support for standing by their beliefs and not backing down to bullies, and we want to do that in a way that causes them no PR harm as well,” the group said.