Moms open fire on Kroger over open carry issue

INDIANAPOLIS - A national gun control advocacy group recently launched a provocative ad campaign aimed at forcing Kroger to change its corporate policies.

The group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America said it wants Kroger to stop allowing people to openly carry weapons in all of its many grocery stores and chains.

The advocates said Kroger has a responsibility to act to protect the public at its stores when the law cannot intervene.

"The last thing we want to see when we are walking down the cereal aisle with our children is someone carrying a loaded rifle. It’s coupled with the lax laws that the majority of states have in this country, we don’t know if these people have permits or have taken a background check and safety classes. It’s just not a safe situation, we don’t want our children facing that in a grocery aisle," Moms Demand Action spokeswoman Nicki McNally said.

The organization recently spent more than $100,000 on the advertising campaign, taking out ads in papers across the country.

The ads point out that Kroger doesn’t allow outside food, shirtless shoppers or skateboards in their stores -- but they do allow people to carry guns.

"We're just letting them know we're not going away. This is a serious issue for moms. The grocery store is the place we go every day with our children and we want it to be a safe environment. Kroger's policy is they say they want safety and security for their customers, but this is really at odds with that," McNally said.

The public appeared to have mixed reviews on the issue.

"I think its Kroger's prerogative to set the rules for whatever happens within their stores. If people have a problem with that they should shop at a place that lines up more with their values," Jeff Seagrave said.

"I'm not a gun advocate. I think there is a time and a place for a gun and it’s not in a grocery store where you are doing your family shopping," Peggy Wessel said.

A Kroger spokesman released a statement saying the store’s longstanding policy on the issue is to follow state and local laws and to ask customers to be respectful of others while shopping.

Moms Demand Action has previously targeted Starbucks, Target and Jack-in-the-Box, successfully convincing the organizations to change their gun policies.

Follow Derrik Thomas on Twitter: @derrikthomas

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