Today Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America launched its first-ever corporate-focused advertising campaign, “Guess Which One,” aimed at convincing Kroger management to prohibit the open carry of firearms in and around its stores. The series of print and digital ads feature individuals open carrying firearms in the aisles of a supermarket, behavior that is permitted by Kroger policies, alongside people carrying other objects that are prohibited from most Kroger stores, including food, skateboards and a lack of appropriate attire.
The ads, which can be viewed here, are running as homepage takeovers in the online editions of USA Today, as well as the Cincinnati Enquirer, Columbus Dispatch, Houston Chronicle, Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press; the ads will also appear in print editions of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Columbus Dispatch, Houston Chronicle, Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, The Tennessean and USA Today in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Houston, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Baltimore and Washington, DC. Additionally, the ads will appear on a billboard in Cincinnati, Kroger’s corporate headquarters.
“These images bring into stark contrast Kroger policies that prohibit skateboards, food and a lack of appropriate attire in stores, but allow the open carry of loaded guns. This inconsistency is particularly shocking given that the laws in a majority of states do not require a background check, permitting or even training to open carry a firearm,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “In all states, but especially those where gun laws are lax, businesses have an obligation to protect their employees and patrons.”
More than 115,000 Americans have already signed the petition calling on Michael Ellis, President and Chief Operating Officer, and Mr. W. Rodney McMullen, Chief Executive Officer, of the Kroger Family of Stores to prohibit open carry in its supermarkets. Moms Demand Action launched the campaign 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 ads, created by the Toronto office of GREY Advertising, are a follow-up to a previous ad campaign developed by GREY that highlighted the absurdity of America’s lax gun laws. In those ads, viewers are asked to guess which item is prohibited in the name of children’s safety: a semi-automatic assault rifle, or an edition of Little Red Riding Hood, a dodgeball or a chocolate “Kinder Egg” candy.
The Kroger family of stores, the nation’s largest supermarket retailer, includes Kroger, Fred Meyer, Food 4 Less, Foods Co, Gerbes Super Markets, Ralphs, Smith’s, Harris Teeter, Jay C Food Stores, Owen’s, Pay Less Supermarkets, City Market, Dillon’s Food Store/Marketplace, Baker’s, King Soopers, QFC and Fry’s Food and Drug.
A majority of state laws allow people to openly carry loaded rifles in public with absolutely no training, permitting, or minimum age requirement. Combined with estimates that 40 percent of gun sales occur without a background check in the U.S., this means that people in most states can legally carry loaded rifles in public without ever having passed a criminal background check.
Open carry demonstrations at Kroger grocery stores in certain states also violate state laws. In Texas, a business that is licensed to sell alcoholic beverages is prohibited by state law from allowing individuals to openly carry firearms on the premises, and therefore Kroger could be jeopardizing its licenses by failing to prevent these demonstrations.
This ad campaign comes on the heels of Moms Demand Action members and supporters around the country shopping at stores that ask guests to leave their firearms at home and avoiding Kroger-owned stores over Labor Day weekend, posting on social media platforms using the hashtag #GroceriesNotGuns. Moms Demand Action supporters will avoid Kroger-owned supermarkets every weekend until Kroger prohibits open carry at its stores.”
“Kroger’s leadership has been resistant to prohibiting open carry because, as they’ve stated, we don’t want employees to have to ‘confront’ a customer openly carrying a firearm, but neither do moms when we’re carrying children,” Watts continued. “If Kroger is concerned about the safety risks an armed individual poses for staff, management should put in place specific policies against open carry in and around its stores to protect both employees and customers.”
The Moms Demand Action campaign follows similar actions 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.