Walmart introduces new gun restrictions but will they help?

FILE - In this Aug. 3, 2019, photo Texas State Police cars block the access to the Walmart store in the aftermath of a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas. The Bentonville, Arkansas-based discounter says Tuesday, Sept. 3, that it will be discontinuing the sale of short-barrel and handgun ammunition.

BOISE — Boise-based Albertsons Companies on Saturday became the latest chain of supermarkets to ask customers not to openly carry firearms within its stores.

The request — voiced in a tweet from the Albertsons Companies official Twitter account Saturday — comes after fellow supermarket giants Walmart and Kroger, which owns Fred Meyer, made similar requests to customers. Walmart’s upper management made that decision following a mass shooting at one of the company’s El Paso stores, in which 22 people were killed.

“We see our grocery stores as a hub in local communities & we’re proud to serve our neighbors,” Albertsons Companies’ tweet from Saturday reads. “We want our stores to feel safe & welcoming for all, so we respectfully ask customers to not openly carry firearms in our stores unless they are authorized law enforcement officers.”

The remark drew criticism from Greg Pruett of the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance, who tweeted it was “such a disappointment that a company based in the most conservative state in the country is caving to gun grabbers.”

Walmart earlier this month requested that customers not openly carry firearms in its stores, even where state laws allow it, and announced it would stop selling handgun and short-barrel rifle ammunition once the current inventory runs out, according to the Associated Press. Walmart’s statement specified that the open-carrying message is a request, not a change in company policy.

Last year, Kroger announced it would no longer sell firearms or ammunition. Those items were only sold at Kroger’s 132 Fred Meyer stores, which are located in Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Alaska, according to CBS News.

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Walmart and Kroger also asked legislators to strengthen background-check laws.

“We encourage our nation’s leaders to move forward and strengthen background checks and to remove weapons from those who have been determined to pose an imminent danger,” the statement from Walmart reads.

Other retailers have made similar statements. On Sept. 5, for instance, pharmacy chain CVS Health tweeted: “We enjoin a growing chorus of businesses in requesting that our customers, other than authorized law enforcement personnel, do not bring firearms into our stores.”

Walgreens made the same decision Sept. 5 with this simple statement: “We are joining other retailers in asking our customers to no longer openly carry firearms into our stores other than authorized law enforcement officials.”

The decision from several big chain stores came following several mass shootings in August alone. The mass shooting in El Paso killed 22 people. Less than 24 hours later, 10 more people were killed in a shooting in Dayton, Ohio. On Aug. 31, a gunman killed seven and injured 25 while leading police on a pursuit from Midland to Odessa, Texas.

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