While other major grocery chains in Texas are opposing the open carry law set to go into effect on January 1, Ohio-based Kroger has no intention to bar its customers from bringing guns into their stores.
Grocers like H-E-B, Whole Foods, Sprouts and Randall’s now display appropriate signage informing customers that they “may not enter this property with a handgun that is carried openly.”
Kroger, which has several stores in Dallas and Houston, however will not impose additional rules on gun owners.
Back in March, Kroger CFO Michael Schlotman revealed the store planned to abide by “local laws” whatever they may be.
“If the local gun laws are to allow open carry, we’ll certainly allow customers to do that based on what the local laws are,” Schlotman said appearing on CNBC’s Squawk Box. “We don’t believe it’s up to us to legislate what the local gun control laws should be. It’s up to the local legislators to decide to do that.”
“So we follow local laws [and] we ask our customers to be respectful to the other people they are shopping with. And we really haven’t had any issues inside of our stores as a result of that.”
Kroger’s refusal to bend to anti-gun fervor has made them the target of gun control groups such as the Michael Bloomberg-affiliated Moms Demand Action, which has targeted Kroger specifically for over a year and spent hundreds of thousands on failed campaigns like #groceriesnotguns.
Rather than capitulating to the pressure, the 2,400-plus store grocery chain has instead stated their commitment to trust their customers will do the right thing.
“The safety of our customers and associates is one of our most important company values. Millions of customers are present in our busy grocery stores every day and we don’t want to put our associates in a position of having to confront a customer who is legally carrying a gun. That is why our long-standing policy on this issue is to follow state and local laws and to ask customers to be respectful of others while shopping. We know that our customers are passionate on both sides of this issue and we trust them to be responsible in our stores.”
Meanwhile, others are pointing out the hypocrisy of some stores allowing concealed carry while refusing open carry.
“In the state of Texas, open carry is only legal if the carrier also carries a concealed carry license,” writes Nick Leghorn for TheTruthAboutGuns.com. “Realistically, by adopting a policy of permitting concealed carry and banning open carry, H-E-B is simply saying is ‘when you come in here, just throw your shirt over your gun please.’”