CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today applauds Greensboro-based The Fresh Market for adopting a new gun safety policy asking customers to refrain from bringing firearms into their stores. The new policy developed by The Fresh Market follows a petition effort led by volunteers with the North Carolina chapter of Moms Demand Action. North Carolina moms also traveled to The Fresh Market locations around the state, asking managers to consider responsible gun policies in their stores. The Fresh Market policy will take effect today in all 168 stores in 27 states nationwide.
“Our volunteers in North Carolina are thrilled to see The Fresh Market listening to their customers and embracing a new policy that prioritizes customer and employee safety. Parents shopping for with their kids should not have to confront armed customers in the produce aisle,” said Christy Clark, volunteer chapter leader with the North Carolina chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “The Fresh Market may be headquartered here in North Carolina, but this gun sense policy will keep people safe in all 168 stores across the country – that is the kind of leadership we want from our North Carolina businesses.”
The Fresh Market’s new policy states, “The unique atmosphere of our stores is an essential part of what makes The Fresh Market a special place for both our customers and employees. In order to maintain that comfortable, safe, and inviting experience, we respectfully request that our customers refrain from bringing firearms and other weapons into our stores.”
“Moms are grateful The Fresh Market shares our concerns about customer and employee safety. Given that mothers make the majority of spending decisions for their families, this is also a smart business move,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “As a result of our nation’s lax gun laws, there’s no way for a mom to know if the person openly carrying a firearm in the cereal aisle is a threat or just there to pick up Cheerios. Millions of gun sales take place in America without a background check, and there is no requirement to have a permit or training to open carry in most states. Until lawmakers do their part to keep constituents safe, Moms Demand Action volunteers will continue to press the places we shop and eat with our families to keep their customers safe.”
North Carolina law, and the laws in a majority of states, allows people to openly carry loaded rifles and shotguns in public with no permit and no training. Combined with the fact that millions of guns are transferred without a background check in the U.S. each year, this means that people in most states can legally carry loaded semiautomatic rifles in public without ever having passed a criminal background check.
Open carry also means that law enforcement’s hands are tied – as was exemplified last fall when a woman in Colorado Springs called the cops because she was worried about a man she saw openly carrying two guns. Because open carry is legal in Colorado (as it is in North Carolina), police couldn’t do anything about it because the person wasn’t breaking the law – until he shot and killed three people.
The Fresh Market’s commitment follows similar actions from Trader Joes, Target, Chipotle, Sonic, Chili’s and Jack in the Box that led these companies to take swift action to stand with Moms Demand Action volunteers and enforce or adopt policies that prohibit open carry to protect the safety of their employees and customers. Moms Demand Action also played a pivotal role in getting Safeway and Albertsons, the country’s second largest grocery chain, to clarify their company-wide policy prohibiting firearms in their stores. And just weeks ago, Facebook acted to end all unlicensed gun sales on its platforms following months of discussion with leaders from Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action. More information on Moms Demand Action’s corporate campaigns is available here.