Will the grocery giant succumb to the Astroturf campaign?
By Jeff Knox
Buckeye, AZ –-(Ammoland.com)- The PR company, Moms Demand Action, a subsidiary of Mike Bloomberg’s gun control conglomerate, Everytown, is waging a media campaign against one of the nation’s largest grocery and consumer goods companies.
The Kroger Company owns and operates nearly 2500 grocery and department stores around the country including Ralphs, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, Scott’s, and other brands.
They employ over 340,000 people, and provide services for tens of millions of customers every year. Kroger’s stores and subsidiaries make a conscious and active effort to be involved in the communities where they do business, and to operate in a “socially conscious” manner. They also maintain a policy of following local laws regarding the possession and carry of firearms.
It’s that last bit that has the Demanding Moms targeting Kroger with petitions, email drives, and ridiculous advertising campaigns in newspapers, on billboards, and around the web. What the Demanding moms are demanding is that Kroger institute a public policy forbidding the legal carry of firearms in their stores. Their only basis for the demand is that seeing guns on the belts of people who aren’t also wearing uniforms and badges, makes them uncomfortable and feel less safe. They can’t claim that the law-abiding gun carriers actually make anyone less safe or that banning legal carry would actually make anyone safer, just that not seeing guns would make them feel safer.
Kroger isn’t the first company to come under assault from the Demanding Moms. The PR firm has made this type of attack their standard modus operandi with campaigns against Chipotle, Smashburger, and Target. In all of those cases the companies relented to the PR pressure of the Demanding Moms by issuing a statement asking gun owners not to openly carry in their establishments. Chipotle, and Target both made it clear that they were not banning guns or even banning open carry, but just “respectfully requesting” that people not open carry in their stores.
Smashburger went a step further and actually instituted a policy against open carry, which really begs the question:
If you think the person carrying the gun – whether it is a pistol on a belt or even an “evil assault rifle” slung over a shoulder – is reasonable, responsible, and respectful enough to obey a sign or comply with an employee’s request to take their gun elsewhere, then exactly what is it about this person having a gun that is a problem?
What has happened is that these companies have realized two things: the Demanding Moms are not going to give up their PR assault as long as Bloomberg’s money holds out, and gun owners are reasonable, respectful people who are generally forgiving of companies they see being unfairly pressed into a corner by well-funded, irrational hoplophobes.
As with most recent gun control efforts, the Demanding Moms’ campaigns have focused on the most visible, least practical examples of individuals exercising their Second Amendment rights – the open carry of long guns, particularly military-looking rifles – but their objectives go far beyond that tiny demographic. They have never limited their “remedy” to restricting the open carry of “assault rifles” or even long guns. Instead they point at the military-looking rifles (which are almost always being carried as a form of protest) and call for stores to ban all guns. They ask the question; “What does anyone need with an “assault rifle” shopping for groceries?”
A recent video of rampaging teens attacking shoppers and viciously beating a Kroger employee at the front door of one of their stores in Memphis, Tennessee, seems to provide a reasonable answer to the Moms’ question.
I also have a personal story that is instructive. Back in the early ‘80s, I had to buy an airline ticket, and the nearest ticket counter to my home was inside a Smith’s Food and Drug (which is now part of Kroger) in North Phoenix, almost 2-hours away from my home in Prescott, Arizona. As I was entering the store, I noticed a sign by the front door saying guns were prohibited. I was openly carrying a Colt Commander, but chose to ignore the sign, reasoning that my business would probably be concluded before anyone might raise the issue. As I was leaving though, I walked past the store’s snack bar. It was 1:00 and sitting down for a burger was tempting, but, due to the store’s “No Guns” policy, I decided against it and headed home.
When I got back to Prescott, I heard a news report that a man had walked into a North Phoenix Smith’s with a shotgun just after 1:00 and murdered his pregnant wife and another woman who both worked in the store’s snack bar.
All their sign had accomplished was to ensure that there was no good guy with a gun present when the bad guy with a gun showed up. I’m glad Smith’s, under Kroger, has changed that policy.
There is no question that the attacks in Memphis and Phoenix are aberrations – shootings and mob attacks are not common occurrences. But they do happen. So do muggings, rapes, and other violent crimes. If we knew when and where these crimes were going to happen, we wouldn’t go there, but we can’t know, so instead, some of us choose to be prepared wherever we go. And that’s one of the less obvious problems with localized gun bans; if I am banned from carrying in particular locations, I must either avoid those places, leave my gun unattended in my vehicle (if I have a vehicle to leave it in), or abandon my family’s security completely so that someone else can feel safer.
Safety is not a feeling. Please call Kroger at (800) 576-4377. Thank them for sticking by state gun laws, and let them know that capitulating to the noisy minority of Demanding Moms will result in less real security, and changes in your shopping habits.
©2014 The Firearms Coalition, all rights reserved. Reprinting, posting, and distributing permitted with inclusion of this copyright statement. www.FirearmsCoalition.org.
The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and with a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition is a project of Neal Knox Associates, Manassas, VA. Visit: www.FirearmsCoalition.org