Kroger wants shoppers to refrain from openly carrying guns in the grocery chain's stores, the Ohio-based retailer announced Tuesday.
According to Reuters, spokeswoman Jessica Adelman, corporate affairs group vice president, said the decision marks a policy shift for Kroger, which operates 3,000 stores nationwide. Before Tuesday's announcement, the company had allowed customers to openly carry guns if state or local laws permitted it, Reuters reported.
"Kroger is respectfully asking that customers no longer openly carry firearms into our stores, other than authorized law enforcement officers," Adelman told Reuters in a statement.
She added that the chain is "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."
The news came as Walmart announced it will no longer sell some kinds of ammunition. The retailer also asked customers not to openly carry guns at Walmart stores, the AP reported.
Gun control advocates lauded the move.
"Walmart deserves enormous credit for joining the strong and growing majority of Americans who know that we have too many guns in our country, and they are too easy to get," Guns Down America founder Igor Volsky, who is also the group's executive director, said in a statement.
However, the National Rifle Association called Walmart's decision "shameful."
"The truth is Walmart's actions today will not make us any safer," the NRA said in a statement. "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."
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– The Associated Press contributed to this report.