CINCINNATI — Kroger would like customers to stop openly carrying firearms in its stores, the company announced Tuesday afternoon. Hours earlier, competing grocery chain Walmart made the same request of customers and confirmed it would discontinue all sales of handgun ammunition in its 11,389 stores.
“A year ago, Kroger made the conscious decision to completely exit the firearm and ammunition business when we stopped selling them in our Fred Meyer stores in the Pacific Northwest,” vice president of corporate affairs Jessica Adeline wrote in a statement. “Kroger has demonstrated with our actions that we recognize the growing chorus of Americans who are no longer comfortable with the status quo and who are advocating for concrete and common sense gun reforms.
“Kroger is respectfully asking that customers no longer openly carry firearms into our stores, other than authorized law enforcement officers. We are also joining those encouraging our elected leaders to pass laws that will strengthen background checks and remove weapons from those who have been found to pose a risk for violence. Our Kroger Purpose is to Feed the Human Spirit and, as America’s grocer, providing our associates and customers with a safe place to work and shop will remain our highest priority.”
The decision arrived a little over a month after a gunman fueled by white nationalist paranoia and anti-immigration furor killed 22 people and injured 24 in an El Paso Walmart. The following day, another gunman would open fire in Dayton, Ohio’s downtown entertainment district.
Headquartered in Cincinnati since its founding in 1883, Kroger sports 2,760 supermarket locations across the Untied States.