Recently Merged Safeway & Albertsons Stores Respond to Moms’ Calls, Clarify Firearms Policy
New Ad Highlights Alarming Contrast in Kroger’s Policies Permitting Open Carry of Loaded Firearms, but Prohibiting Skateboards, Animals, Squirt Guns; ‘World’s Longest Receipt’, Launches to Show Dollars Spent at Kroger Competitors; #GroceriesNotGuns
NEW YORK – Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America today applauds Safeway and Albertsons, which merged earlier this year, for responding to Moms’ calls and clarifying their company-wide policy prohibiting firearms in their stores. The reinforcement of this policy from the country’s second largest grocery store chain comes as Moms Demand Action releases a new ad (available here) and the “World’s Longest Receipt” (available here) highlighting the cost of Kroger’s failure to adopt gun sense policies that protect the safety of their customers and employees.
Following their merger in January, Safeway and Albertsons now operate more than 2,000 grocery stores in 34 states and the District of Columbia. In February, Moms Demand Action sent a letter to Albertsons notifying them of an open carry incident in an Albertsons store and inquired about the chain’s firearm policy post-merger. After exchanging phone calls with corporate executives, Safeway distributed a “Hot Topics” memo in March to all customer service representatives clarifying that store policy prohibits firearms. Moms Demand Action also received an email (available here) from Safeway customer service as well as recorded a phone call (available here) with a customer service representative stating that the Safeway and Albertsons stores have a policy prohibiting firearms. While Safeway had this policy in place pre-merger, Moms research found this to not be the case at Albertsons. With these latest communications, it is evident that the newly merged chain has decided to stand on the side of customer and employee safety by tightening this firearms policy across all stores.
“Moms are thrilled to see Safeway and Albertsons leadership stand up for gun sense by clarifying and reinforcing its firearms policy – this gives us another clear alternative of where to shop alongside other gun sense stores like Target, Costco and Whole Foods, especially while Kroger has not yet responded to our call to keep customers and employees safe from gun violence in their stores,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “Time and time again, when state or national laws don’t protect children and families, Moms Demand Action has and will continue to work with businesses to establish and keep policies in place that protect consumers and employees. For moms concerned about our children’s safety, that sense of security matters since millions of guns are sold every year in America without a background check and openly carried firearms are unregulated in a majority of states. It’s a shame that Kroger President & COO Rodney Ellis and CEO W. Rodney McMullen will not listen to their customers and employees to follow the lead of their competitors and prohibit the open carry of arms in their stores.”
The laws in a majority of states allow people to openly carry loaded rifles in public with absolutely no training, permitting, or minimum age requirement. Combined with the millions of gun sales in America that occur without a background check in a single year, this means that people in most states can legally carry loaded rifles in public without ever having passed a criminal background check.
As part of the effort to highlight Kroger’s failure to update it’s store policy, Moms Demand Action released a new 60-second digital ad produced by the Toronto office of GREY Advertising featuring individuals open carrying firearms in the aisles of a supermarket, behavior that is permitted by Kroger policies, in contrast to people carrying other objects that are prohibited from most Kroger stores, including skateboards, animals, and squirt guns.
“Our new ad shows how Kroger policies that prohibit skateboards, poodles and squirt guns, but allow the open carry of loaded guns are inconsistent and alarming – particularly given that the laws in a majority of states do not require a background check, permitting or even training to open carry a firearm,” continued Watts. “In all states, businesses have an obligation to protect their employees and patrons and until Kroger steps up, Moms will put our money where our mouths are and shop at stores that put our safety first like Safeway and Alberstons.”
Also today, Moms Demand Action released the “World’s Longest Receipt”, an ongoing tally of dollars spent at Kroger competitors with gun sense policies. Moms invite customers to enter the amount spent at stores that put the safety of our families first — stores like Whole Foods, Costco, Target, and now Safeway and Albertsons. As receipts are entered, the site will display an ongoing tally of the total dollars spent elsewhere.
“Kroger needs to know that their refusal to act is costing them money as Moms take our grocery shopping elsewhere,” added Watts. “Now we’re keeping track of all the money Kroger is losing to its gun sense competitor and with the help of our supporters, we will create the World’s Longest Receipt.”
Moms Demand Action’s petition calling on Kroger Family of Stores President ad Chief Operating Officer Michael Ellis, and W. Rodney McMullen to prohibit open carry in its supermarkets was launched in response to incidences of gun violence in and around stores, as well as open carry demonstrations organized by gun extremists who brought loaded semi-automatic assault weapons into stores (photos here). The petition has over 360,000 signatures.
Moms Demand Action’s Kroger campaign follows similar efforts aimed at Target, Starbucks, Chipotle, Sonic, Chili’s and Jack in the Box that led these companies to take swift action to stand with Moms and enforce or adopt policies that prohibit open carry to protect the safety of their employees and customers.