Publix joins other chains asking customers to stop openly carrying guns in stores

Publix joins other retailers asking for customers to not openly carry guns in their stores

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.

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"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.

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 statements came one week after 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.

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."