LAKELAND, Fla. - Another supermarket chain wants customers to refrain from openly carrying guns in its grocery stores.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, Lakeland, Florida-based Publix on Wednesday became the latest major retailer to issue a statement on its weapons policy.
"Publix respectfully requests that only law enforcement officials openly carry firearms in our stores," a spokesman for the company, which operates more than 1,200 stores in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama and Virginia, told the newspaper.
Publix tells shoppers not to openly carry guns in its stores https://t.co/q98pUB1Udz— Tampa Bay Times (@TB_Times) September 11, 2019
Although Florida law already prohibits openly carrying guns in public, it is legal in Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina and Virginia, the Times reported.
Earlier this week, Michigan-based Meijer and Aldi's U.S. division, which is headquartered in Illinois, made similar announcements about guns in stores, WTHR reported.
The safety of our 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.— Meijer (@meijer) September 9, 2019
At ALDI, the safety of our employees, customers and the community is our highest priority. Alongside many other businesses, we are asking that our customers refrain from openly displaying firearms in any of our stores, except for authorized law enforcement personnel.— ALDI USA (@AldiUSA) September 9, 2019
Several other retailers, including Kroger, Walgreens, CVS and Wegmans, followed suit last week, according to the AP.
In a Sept. 3 statement, the National Rifle Association called Walmart's decision "shameful."
"The truth is Walmart's actions today will not make us any safer," the statement said. "Rather than place the blame on the criminal, Walmart has chosen to victimize law-abiding Americans. Our leaders must be willing to approach the problems of crime, violence and mental health with sincerity and honesty."
"It is shameful to see @Walmart succumb to the pressure of the anti-gun elites. Lines at Walmart will soon be replaced by lines at other retailers who are more supportive of America’s fundamental freedoms."— NRA (@NRA) September 3, 2019
Read @NRA's statement on Walmart's decision here: pic.twitter.com/bmwAS9o0KP