Despite the fact that a new open-carry law will take effect in Texas on January 1, several grocers, including giant H-E-B, have announced that they will continue to ban open carry in their stores.
Whole Foods and Randall’s have also announced that they will continue to ban open carry in Texas.
Kroger, the country's largest grocery store chain, has a novel idea: it will simply follow the law.
During an appearance on CNBC’s "Squawk Box" in March, 2015, Kroger CFO Michael Schlotman explained:
"If the local gun laws are to allow open carry, we’ll certainly allow customers to do that based on what the local laws are. We don’t believe it’s up to us to legislate what the local gun control laws should be. It’s up to the local legislators to decide to do that.
So we follow local laws [and] we ask our customers to be respectful to the other people they are shopping with. And we really haven’t had any issues inside of our stores as a result of that."
The company is reiterating the statement that it made in August 2014:
“The safety of our customers and associates is one of our most important company values. Millions of customers are present in our busy grocery stores every day and we don’t want to put our associates in a position of having to confront a customer who is legally carrying a gun. That is why our long-standing policy on this issue is to follow state and local laws and to ask customers to be respectful of others while shopping. We know that our customers are passionate on both sides of this issue and we trust them to be responsible in our stores.”
Kroger has long been the target of Michael Bloomberg-backed "Moms Demand Action," which launched its 'Groceries not Guns" campaign against the chain in 2014.