Kroger asks customers to stop openly carrying guns in its stores

PHOTO: Signage is displayed outside a Kroger Co. supermarket in Louisville, Ky., March 5, 2019.PlayBloomberg via Getty Images, FILE
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Executives at the grocery store giant Kroger are asking its customers to stop openly carrying firearms in their stores, a change in policy that comes after several mass shootings in the U.S.

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"Kroger is respectfully asking that customers no longer openly carry firearms into our stores, other than authorized law enforcement officers," Jessica Adelman, group vice president of corporate affairs, said in a statement Tuesday.

Adelman said the company is encouraging lawmakers to strengthen background checks and recognizes "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."

PHOTO: Signage is displayed outside a Kroger Co. supermarket in Louisville, Ky., March 5, 2019. Bloomberg via Getty Images, FILE
Signage is displayed outside a Kroger Co. supermarket in Louisville, Ky., March 5, 2019.

The news comes after multiple high-profile mass shootings in the country, including Gilroy, California; El Paso, Texas; Dayton, Ohio; and Odessa, Texas. However, the company did not specifically cite the shootings as its reasoning.

Open carry laws vary state by state, with 31 states allowing people to openly carry handguns without any license or permit, according to the Giffords Law Center. In those states, in some cases, the gun must be unloaded.

Also on Tuesday, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon announced that his stores will discontinue sales of some types of rifle ammunition in the wake of "horrific shootings."

Last year, Kroger stopped selling firearms and ammunition in its Fred Meyers stores in the Pacific Northwest.