Walgreens, CVS, Wegmans ask customers not to openly carry guns

Several more US corporations tell shoppers that bringing their firearms into stores is bad for safety and security.

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc, CVS Health Corp and supermarket chain Wegmans Food Markets Inc have said they will start asking customers not to openly carry firearms in their stores.

The companies on Thursday joined Walmart Inc and Kroger Co in a change of gun policy following several deadly mass shootings in the United States.

The retailers are among a growing number of US companies, such as Delta Air Lines and Bank of America, that are proactively responding to calls for action to help curtail the rash of gun violence that has plagued the nation, risking backlash from powerful gun owners’ groups as policymakers consider options.

“We are joining other retailers in asking our customers to no longer openly carry firearms into our stores other than authorized law enforcement officials,” Walgreens said in an emailed statement.

‘This sea change’

Earlier this week, Walmart and Kroger said they would ask shoppers to stop openly carrying firearms in stores across the country.

Walmart also said it would discontinue sales of ammunition for handguns and some assault-style rifles in US stores, and called for action on gun safety after a string of mass shootings, including ones at Walmart stores in Texas and Mississippi.

“There’s nothing more important than the safety of our customers & employees,” Wegmans said in a tweet on Thursday, adding that it “prefers” customers do not openly carry firearms in its stores.

CVS Health echoed the sentiment, saying, “We join a growing chorus of businesses in requesting that our customers, other than authorized law enforcement personnel, do not bring firearms into our stores.”

As the chains began making their announcements on Thursday, Shannon Watts, founder of gun control advocacy group Moms Demand Action said, “We hope Senate leaders are watching this sea change.”

“We’ll take this momentum to Washington when Congress is back from recess on Monday,” she added, referencing the next day that lawmakers return from their August vacation.

The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives passed a bill intended to close loopholes around background checks for gun purchases and other measures in February, but it has not been taken up by the Republican-led Senate.

SOURCE: Reuters news agency

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