Walgreens, Wegmans, CVS Forbid Customers From Openly Carrying Guns, Joining Walmart and Kroger

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news, including politics and court cases. He started at The Epoch Times as a New York City metro reporter.
September 5, 2019 Updated: September 5, 2019

Walgreens, Wegmans, and CVS said on Thursday, Sept. 5 that customers should not openly carry firearms even in states where such a display is legal.

“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 a statement.

There was no other information listed. By saying “openly carry,” the implication is that concealed carry is still allowed.

A spokesperson for the  Illinois-based company took to Twitter on Thursday morning to write to Moms Demand founder Shannon Watts, a prominent anti-gun advocate, and told her: “Thank you for your advocacy on this important issue. Please see the statement we posted this morning.” The missive came after Watts said that Walgreens had not “stood up for gun safety.”

Walgreens operates approximately 9,560 drugstores across all 50 states, including Duane Reade and some Rite Aid locations. It does not sell firearms.

CVS said in a statement on Thursday: “We support the efforts of individuals and groups working to prevent gun violence, and continually review our policies and procedures to ensure our stores remain a safe environment. 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.”

The Rhode Island-based company has thousands of stores in the United States, with some in Brazil as well. None of its stores sell guns.

Wegmans posted a statement around the same time.

“There’s nothing more important than the safety of our customers & employees. The sight of someone with a gun can be alarming, and we don’t want anyone to feel that way at Wegmans. For this reason, we prefer that customers not openly carry firearms into our stores,” the New York-based company said in a statement.

The grocery chain, which does not sell guns, has more than 90 stores across seven states.

The announcements came one day after Rural King, which describes itself as “America’s Farm and Home Store,” said its customers are welcome to carry guns inside its stores.

“Many rural Americans are defenders and supporters of our rights and the 2nd Amendment. We at Rural King are proud to stand with these Americans to protect and defend our freedoms,” the company said in a statement it released on Sept. 4.

“While some retailers are bowing to pressures involving the selling of firearms, Rural King will continue to sell firearms lawfully in all our stores and online at RKGuns.com. Hunting, camping, fishing, and other outdoor activities are some of our most treasured traditions and are woven into the fabric of rural America. At Rural King, we are dedicated to living, loving, and embracing the rural lifestyle and carrying the products our customers expect.”

The Illinois-based company has approximately 110 stores in 13 states, including outlets in Indiana, West Virginia, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky.

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon announced in a memo to employees earlier in the week that the company will now discontinue sales of “short-barrel rifle ammunition such as the .223 caliber and 5.56 caliber that, while commonly used in some hunting rifles, can also be used in large capacity clips on military-style weapons.”

The Arkansas-based company, which has over 4,500 stores nationwide, will also stop selling handgun ammunition and halt handgun sales in Alaska, the last place the company had been selling them.

“We know these decisions will inconvenience some of our customers, and we hope they will understand,” McMillon said.

Epoch Times Photo
A Walmart in a file photograph. (Getty Images | Scott Olson)

“As a company, we experienced two horrific events in one week, and we will never be the same. Our remaining assortment will be even more focused on the needs of hunting and sport shooting enthusiasts.”

Walmart also said that customers shouldn’t openly carry firearms into Walmart stores of Sam’s Club, even in states where open carry is legal, unless they’re law enforcement officers. McMillon said people can still conceal carry in stores if they have the proper permits.

Kroger, meanwhile, said this week that it would also not allow customers to open carry in its stores and was openly pushing lawmakers to pass gun control laws.

“Kroger is respectfully asking that customers no longer openly carry firearms into our stores, other than authorized law enforcement officers,” Jessica Adelman, group vice president of corporate affairs for the Ohio-based company, said in a statement.

“We are also joining those encouraging our elected leaders to pass laws that will strengthen background checks and remove weapons from those who have been found to pose a risk for violence.”

Kroger has thousands of stores across the United States, many with different names such as Harris Teeter, Ralphs, and King Soopers.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news, including politics and court cases. He started at The Epoch Times as a New York City metro reporter.