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Kroger asks customer not to openly carry guns in stores

(Credit: Paul Nelson)

SALT LAKE CITY – Another major retail chain is joining Walmart and asking their customers to leave their guns at home before coming to their stores.  Smith’s parent company, Kroger, is asking people not to carry guns openly and they’re calling on Congress to reform gun laws.

Kroger Group Vice President of Corporate Affairs Jessica Adelman emailed the company’s statement, saying…

“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. 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 statement doesn’t mention anything about concealed carry permits, nor does it say whether or not customers would be kicked out of the stores if they don’t comply with this request.

Utah is an “open carry” state.  In fact, Utah Shooting Sports Council Chair Clark Aposhian says if someone doesn’t have a concealed weapons permit, the only way they can carry a gun is through open carry.

“So, it can’t be covered and not discreetly maintained,” he says, adding that the gun can’t be loaded.  “In Utah, you can have a fully loaded magazine as long as there’s not a bullet in the chamber.  Or, in a revolver, the chamber underneath the hammer, when the hammer is down, must be empty,” he says.

Will Kroger’s new policy really affect shoppers in Utah?  Aposhian doesn’t believe so.  He says since stores are private property, managers already have the authority to kick people out if they have a gun.

“Anyone in authority there can tell you to leave, and, if you don’t leave, you’re trespassing,” he says.

There have been occasions where shoppers have carried rifles into retail stores in Utah in the past, but Aposhian believes those are quite rare.

“If they don’t have an absolute ban under their store policy, they look at what else the person is doing.  If they’re acting a fool and open carrying, [the managers] are probably going to ask them to leave,” Aposhian says.