EUGENE, Ore. -- Nationwide grocer Kroger has requested that its customers refrain from openly carrying firearms in its stores, just hours after Walmart made a similar announcement.
The changes follow several mass shootings over the summer, including one in a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas.
Walmart has also halted sales of ammunition for handguns and short-barrel rifles. Hunting rifles and related ammunition will still be available.
Staff at Eugene shooting range Northwest Arsenal said that they hope that less ammunition on the shelves of big-box stores will mean more business for local gun shops. Additionally, they said that customers will be able to get more personal service at local stores, including more expansive safety training.
"I'd like to of course see more people in my store, buying more ammunition from me," said owner Ken-Bob Johnson. "However, I really just want people to go out and go shooting, go practice, get training and go out and make an informed decision."
According to workers at the store, they’ve also seen a surge in customers who work at big-box stores since the El Paso shooting, which they see as evidence that people feel unsafe in large, public areas such as stores.
"Essentially since El Paso, we've had people come in in their Fred Meyer shirts, polos, and their Walmart vests. And they are interested in firearms, small concealable firearms as well as passive protection," said Northwest Arsenal employee Christian Miller.
KEZI 9 News spoke with shoppers at Fred Meyers, which is owned by Kroger, asking how they felt about the grocer's new open carry policy. Some said they felt safer without the presence of guns. Others were upset that if a shooting were to occur, fewer customers would be armed to prevent deaths.
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