One of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s gun-control groups this week will begin pressuring Kroger, the nation’s largest supermarket operator, to dissuade individuals from openly carrying weapons in its stores, after successful campaigns with other national retailers, the Wall Street Journal reports. Bloomberg’s groups, including Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, have had mixed results in backing candidates in elections and trying to influence changes in government gun regulations.
The groups have won public-relations victories when Target and Starbucks said they would ask customers to not bring guns into their outlets, although those companies said they would continue to follow state and local gun laws. “When a company like Kroger doesn’t have a policy around guns, it seems to send a signal to gun extremists that they tacitly support or even endorse things like open carry,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. Gun-rights advocates have pressed open-carry by legally carrying long arms such as rifles in public places to highlight restrictions on carrying handguns, arguing that visible guns in public deter crime. Several states ban the open carrying of handguns, and some require a permit.