Gun control advocates applaud Meijer’s open carry request

By Brian McVicar
mlive.com

WALKER, MI — Meijer waded into the national conversation on gun safety Monday, announcing that it’s requesting that shoppers do not openly carry firearms in its stores.

The move, announced by the Walker-based retail giant on Twitter, drew praise from gun control activists, who called Meijer’s announcement a “common-sense” move that seeks to “create a culture of gun safety.”

Meanwhile, firearms proponents were critical of the move.

“It’s obviously their decision, their property, and I’m assuming that gun owners who are law abiding peaceful people will abide by the decision,” said Steve Dulan, a board member of the Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners. “But it certainly doesn’t create any more safety there.”

Officials with Meijer did not respond to an interview request.

Meijer’s announcement comes less than a week after Walmart asked customers not to openly carry firearms in its stores. The Bentonville, Arizona-based retail giant said it would stop selling handguns and short-barrel rifle ammunition as well.

Walmart’s policy change came after a 21-year-old man opened fire in a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. The attack killed 22 people.

In its announcement, Meijer said the safety of its customers and team members “is our top priority, so we respectfully request that our customers do not open carry firearms at Meijer.”

“We’ve made this decision because open carry can create an environment that makes our customers and team members feel unsafe,” the statement said.

Officials with Meijer could not be reached to discuss how the retailer is communicating its policy to customers or how it would respond if a shopper was to openly care a firearm into one of its stores.

Emily Durbin, who leads the Michigan chapter of the gun safety group Moms Demand Action, said there’s “broad support” for stores enacting open-carry bans. She said Meijer’s statement demonstrates that businesses are “starting to join the chorus of citizens calling out for gun safety in this country.”

“This is a welcome step,” she said. “It’s great to see more and more companies join in that effort to create a culture of gun safety in this country.”

Last week, Meijer released a statement saying that over the past year it had made “several changes to our policies regarding ammunition, including increasing the age of purchase.”

The statement also said that it was “evaluating” its “ammunition offerings as well as our policies regarding customers carrying firearms into our stores.”

Meijer’s announcement released Monday did not touch on any further changes to its ammunition offerings.

According to the Associated Press, Walmart last week announced that it would “stop selling handgun ammunition as well as short-barrel rifle ammunition, such as the .223 caliber and 5.56 caliber used in military style weapons, after it runs out of its current inventory.”

Durbin said her organization is waiting to hear whether Meijer will make changes to its ammunition policies.

“We would of course encourage Meijer to follow the leadership of those companies and adopt similar policies,” Durbin said.

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Posted by Tribune News Services

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