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Publix takes big stand to address gun violence

Florida

SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – Florida’s largest private company is taking a big stand to address gun violence.

Publix is now asking customers not to openly carry weapons in its stores.

Florida is not an open carry state but Publix is one of the nation’s largest grocery chains and its standing in solidarity with a number of other big retailers.

Wednesday’s surprise announcement has come on the heels of a recent string of deadly mass shootings.

Publix has announced it is asking customers to not openly carry guns in its stores. It’s following the lead of other retailers like Walmart and CVS.

Publix is the largest private company in Florida, and it released a statement saying-

‘Publix respectfully requests that only law enforcement officials openly carry firearms in our stores.’

Although this decision does not impact Florida customers, it impacts millions of others in states like Alabama and North Carolina.

“A lot of us teach our children at young age how to use a gun,” said gun owner Daniel Hines.

Hines is from Ohio, an open-carry state. He’s not a fan of this recent trend from retailers.

“If you’re allowed to carry a gun and your lawfully allowed to carry it, I don’t see no problem carrying a gun out in the open,” said Hines. “You should be able to have that in the open or  covered up to protect you or your family, or the patrons, or the store.”

Other Florida Publix shoppers feel the same way.

“I actually don’t think it does any good to take guns away from people because the people who are going to do things like that are going to find the guns anyway,” said shopper Josh Krom.

“People are carrying weapons everywhere these days but if Publix wants to enforce something like that are they going to put some sort of screener at the front door? Check it out? What’s the sense in it? I think its just a publicity deal,” said one man.

Gun control advocates applaud the measure.

‘Moms Demand Action’ says recent polling shows a majority of Americans would support businesses that take action against gun violence.

The group released the following statement-

“This is remarkable: Over the last eight days, nine major national retailers have bucked the NRA and taken action to keep their customers safe from gun violence,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “It’s high time for the Senate to take a page from these business leaders — which have their fingers on the pulse of public opinion — and pass strong background check and Red Flag laws.”

“Publix joins a growing list of brands that have decided to prohibit open carry in stores,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “These reversals in-store policy are yet more proof point that corporate leaders are standing up to the gun lobby and taking action on gun safety — because their customers are demanding it. Now it’s time for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Senate to lead on this issue and bring gun safety legislation to the floor for a vote.”

Polling released last week from Edelman Intelligence showed that a strong majority of Americans feel favorably towards businesses that support gun safety measures. The poll — taken before recent moves by these eight companies to prohibit open carry in their stores — shows broad and bipartisan public support for a variety of actions by CEOs and companies, including supporting legislation requiring background checks on all gun sales, funding gun safety education and prohibiting open carry in their stores. Based on these findings, Edelman Intelligence advised that businesses “have more to gain than they put at risk” by advocating for gun violence prevention.

Other notable findings include: 

  • Nearly half of Americans would be more likely to purchase from a company if its CEO has taken action to address gun violence and just 11 percent are less likely to purchase from that company; 
  • The majority of Democrats, Republicans and gun owners would feel more favorable toward a company whose CEO advocated for legislation requiring background checks on all gun sales; and
  • Consumers are three times more likely to respond positively than negatively to a CEO or company that takes action to address gun violence. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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