EUGENE, Ore. -- Joining a trend of stores updating their gun policies, Albertsons Companies recently tweeted requesting that customers not openly carry in their stores, and the community has mixed feelings.
The change, which will impact stores like Albertsons and Safeway, comes after recent mass shootings. Walmart and Kroger, which owns Fred Meyer, were among the first grocery chains to make similar requests. Walmart also halted sales of some ammunition.
We see our grocery stores as a hub in local communities & we're proud to serve our neighbors. We want our stores to feel safe & welcoming for all, so we respectfully ask customers to not openly carry firearms in our stores unless they are authorized law enforcement officers.— Albertsons Companies (@AlbertsonsCos) September 7, 2019
The tweet from Albertsons Companies asks customers to leave open carry to law enforcement.
Some residents agreed with Albertsons' request.
"I totally support it,” said Eugene resident Scott Wolfinger.
Reporters spoke with Raye Gunter, owner of Emerald Valley Armory, who said he thinks the change won't make a difference.
"I seriously doubt that it will make any difference whatsoever,” Gunter said.
Gunter said while he understands why the company might want to make the request, he said he doesn’t think it will change anything. He said guns aren’t the problem.
“It's a feel-good thing they are throwing out there to pander to a certain group of people,” Gunter said.
Other community members agreed and said they felt it might turn some customers away. Gunter said he has noticed new gun policies at many big chain stores are driving some people to smaller, local shops.
"I think it is a step in the right direction, though," said Eugene resident David Skelton.
Eugene Police told reporters that private businesses do have the right to ban open carry in their stores. They said it could be enforced as trespassing if a customer refused to leave.
Oregon law does not require any sort of permit to open carry a loaded firearm, although there are restrictions that may vary by municipality or county. Some metropolitan areas have barred open carry entirely. However, a concealed handgun license bypasses the majority of these restrictions.
None of the retailers who have requested that their customers refrain from open carrying have addressed a stance toward concealed carry by those with valid licenses.
Albertsons Companies did not respond to a request for more information about the change.
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