Walgreens, CVS join growing group of no-gun retailers
Walgreens and CVS have joined Walmart and Kroger in asking customers to refrain from openly carrying firearms in their stores.
Lauren Thomas reported the news for CNBC:
Drugstore chains Walgreens Boots Alliance and CVS Health on Thursday joined Walmart and Kroger in asking shoppers not to openly carry guns in their stores, even in states where “open carry” is allowed, unless they are authorized law enforcement officers.
“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.
CVS posted a similar message to its corporate Twitter account.
Walmart started somewhat of a ripple effect after CEO Doug McMillon issued a memo Tuesday to employees saying it would make some drastic changes in the wake of two deadly shootings at Walmart stores over the summer. In addition to asking shoppers not to openly carry weapons in the store, the world’s largest retailer plans to halt the sale of some types of ammunition and pulled out of the handgun category entirely.
USA Today’s Kelly Tyko quoted CVS’s statement:
“We support the efforts of other individuals and groups working to prevent gun violence, and continually review our policies and procedures to ensure our stores remain a safe environment,” CVS said in its statement. “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.”
Walgreens issued a similar statement, asking “customers to no longer openly carry firearms into our stores other than authorized law enforcement officials.”
Also on Thursday, facing a mounting social media campaign, New York-based Wegmans Food Markets announced it was changing its policies.
Pressure on the company started heating up Tuesday when Shannon Watts, founder of the gun control activist group Moms Demand Action, tweeted to Wegmans, asking “When will you prohibit open carry inside your stores?”
Actress Julianne Moore also asked the chain of 100 stores in Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia to act.
“The sight of someone with a gun can be alarming, and we don’t want anyone to feel that way at Wegmans,” the grocer wrote in announcing the change. “For this reason, we prefer that customers not openly carry firearms into our stores.”
CNN’s Clare Duffy noted:
Companies have faced increasing pressure from customers and employees to take action to prevent gun violence after a spate of mass shootings in recent weeks, including one inside a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas.
Walmart is the country’s largest retailer. CVS and Walgreens are the largest and second-largest pharmacy chains. The companies have thousands of stores in places where customers may be opposed to restrictions on when and where they can carry guns, but all have now aligned themselves with the movement for gun reforms.
“Prohibiting open carry sends a very strong cultural signal that companies are siding with the safety of families,” said Shannon Watts, founder of advocacy group Moms Demand Action, which has spent years pushing these and other companies to stop allowing open carry.
“They know their customers are with them on this … they want to be on the right side of history but they also know that these actions are good for business,” Watts said.
Advocates for gun control applauded the move to stop allowing open carry in retail locations after Walmart announced its new policy Wednesday. Walmart also announced that it would end some gun and ammunition sales, and would start pushing elected officials to adopt tighter gun laws.