(FOX19) - Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America launched a national campaign Monday calling on Kroger stores to prohibit customers from openly carrying guns in its supermarkets.
This comes in response to incidences of gun violence in and around stores, as well as open carry demonstrations organized by gun extremist groups that brought gunmen with loaded assault weapons into stores.
In June, a woman shot and killed her husband then herself in Georgia at a Kroger parking lot. Last month, a woman threatened to shoot and kill an employee at a Nashville, TN location.
There has been numerous open carry incidents at several Kroger stores across the country including Arkansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Texas and West Virginia.
"The history of shootings at Kroger stores underscores the risk of allowing open carry demonstrations and rallies to continue," said Shannon Watts, Founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. "It's impossible for any employee to ascertain the intentions of an individual carrying an assault rifle - and given the potentially deadly outcome of mistaking a criminal for a protester, or vice versa, it is imperative that the largest supermarket retailer in the nation stands up for public safety."
In a statement released Monday, Kroger says "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."
The Kroger family of stores, the second largest supermarket chain in the country and the nation's largest supermarket retailer.
The Moms Demand Action campaign follows similar actions aimed at Target, Chipotle, Sonic, Chili's and Jack in the Box that led these companies to enforce or adopt policies that prohibit openly carrying guns to protect the safety of their employees and customers.