LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Grocery giant Kroger confirmed Tuesday that it is asking its customers to leave their guns at home.
A spokeswoman for the Cincinnati-based company said in a statement that “Kroger is respectfully asking that customers no longer openly carry firearms into our stores, other than authorized law enforcement officers. We are also joining those encouraging our elected leaders to pass laws that will strengthen background checks and remove weapons from those who have been found to pose a risk for violence.”
The statement does not address concealed carry, which is now legal without a permit in Kentucky.
The announcement was made hours after Walmart said Tuesday it would no longer sell “handgun and short-barrel rifle ammunition, while requesting that customers not openly carry firearms in its stores, even where state laws allow it,” according to the Associated Press.
Kroger's decision is getting mixed reactions from customers.
“I’m going to start finding some alternatives, and we do have alternatives," said Barry Laws. “So no matter who they think they are, and how big they think they are, there are alternatives.”
Laws owns Openrange Gun Range in Crestwood. He said he chooses not to carry his gun in the open, but he appreciates that the law allows him to decide.
“I hate to use ‘slippery slope’ because everybody goes ‘I know what side he’s on,’ but, we really have to think about it as citizens when we have these rules that are starting to form in private businesses,” Laws said.
Shopper Eileen Eigelbach said she was excited when she learned Kroger’s stance.
“I prefer not to see guns just openly carried around,” Eigelbach said. “I think that it could create more tension than it will solve.”
The statement from the grocery chain spokesperson goes on to explain the new policy reflects their customers’ changing opinions on gun reform.
“Kroger has demonstrated with our actions that we recognize the growing chorus of Americans who are no longer comfortable with the status quo and who are advocating for concrete and common sense gun reforms.”
Kroger operates approximately 2,800 grocery stores in more than 30 states, including more than 100 locations in Kentucky.
In 2018, a man walked into the Kroger store in Jeffersontown and shot and killed a man inside, then shot and killed a woman on the way out to the parking lot. Gregory Bush is charged in that case and is awaiting trial.