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/ Source: TODAY
By Rachel Paula Abrahamson

Kroger is following Walmart’s lead with its open-carry policy.

The Ohio-based supermarket chain with nearly 2,800 stores is asking shoppers not to openly carry guns in any of its stores — even in states where it is legal to do so.

“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,” Jessica Adelson, group vice president of corporate affairs, told CNBC in a statement.

Tuesday’s announcement came two days after a gunman opened fire, killing seven people and injuring 21, in Odessa and Midland, Texas.

A gunman opened fire on August 31, 2019, killing seven and injuring 21 in Odessa and Midland, Texas.AP

Last year, Kroger stopped selling firearms and ammunition at its Fred Meyer stores following the deadly mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida. (Fred Meyers previously sold guns at nearly 45 of its 132 locations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska, according to the Associated Press.)

“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,” Adelson told TODAY on Tuesday.

Back in 2014, Moms Demand Action chastised Kroger for prohibiting skateboards, eating and shirtless shopping but permitting the open carry of loaded firearms. The advocacy group’s ad campaign included images like a little girl holding an ice cream cone next to a man toting a rifle with the caption, “One of them isn’t welcome at Kroger. Guess which one.”

Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, is now celebrating the victory.

“Kroger is the second largest retailer in the country and the nation’s largest supermarket retailer,” Watts wrote on Twitter. “In addition to numerous open carry incidents at several Kroger locations, there were also dozens of shootings and threats across the country.”