Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America applauds New Seasons Market, a chain of more than a dozen grocery stores located in Oregon and Washington, for adopting a new store policy that asks guests to leave their firearms at home. New Seasons’ announcement this week comes as Moms’ campaign to urge Kroger to prohibit open carry, launched in August, continues to build momentum around the country with the recent placement of billboards, print and digital ads and as Kroger shoppers in states across the country have turned in their loyalty cards or destroyed them.
New Seasons, like Panera, proactively decided to adopt a gun sense policy, joining other companies that responded to Moms Demand Action campaigns including Target, Chipotle, Starbucks, Sonic, Jack in the Box, and Chili’s. According to an email from New Seasons’ customer service advocate, “As the friendliest store in town, we work every day to ensure our staff, neighbors and customers feel safe and welcome in our stores. We’ve had a no-weapons policy in place for some time for our staff. We’re now respectfully asking our customers to leave their weapons at home too. As your neighborhood grocer, we want everyone to feel comfortable shopping in our stores.”
New Seasons’ policy follows inquiries from members of the Oregon chapter of Moms Demand Action about the store’s policy. “Our local Fred Meyer and QFC stores — both Kroger brands —would rather allow strangers who may have never had a background check to openly carry guns in their stores than have my family’s business. It’s a relief to know that New Seasons is not only the friendliest but the safest choice for my family’s grocery shopping,” said Jenn Lynch, a volunteer with the Oregon chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
Yet while grocery stores like New Seasons act in the interest of customer safety, Kroger and Kroger-affiliated brands have permitted firearms in its stores, even when customers have complained. Shoppers from Kroger in Tennessee and Harris Teeter in North Carolina have reached out to Moms Demand Action after they have witnessed recent incidents of open carry and been disturbed by Kroger’s inaction after reporting to Kroger headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Moms Demand Action’s petition to Kroger has garnered nearly 250,000 signatures from people of all stripes, including Kroger customers and employees, since it launched on August 18. In addition, Moms members have made more than 10,000 calls to Kroger’s headquarters. The campaign has been bolstered by the organization’s first-ever ads urging a company to prohibit open carry in and around its stores and earlier this month, Kroger’s hometown newspaper, the Cincinnati Enquirer, published an editorial asking the company to reconsider its current policy. “…[A]bsent a common-sense approach from elected leaders that preserves both public decorum and personal rights,” the editorial board wrote, “Kroger might do well to follow the Starbucks/Target model: Tuck that gun inside your coat, and stop scaring people who are just running in for milk and diapers.”
Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, said, “With a patchwork of lax gun laws and background check loopholes in states across America, we demand that businesses act to protect their customers when our lawmakers do not. That’s why we are thrilled that after the inquiries of our Oregon moms, New Seasons listened and implemented a gun sense policy by asking their customers, in addition to their employees, to leave their guns at home — and that’s also why we aren’t backing down on Kroger. Women make 80 percent of all spending decisions for American families and we will patronize companies that prioritize our family’s safety.”