Customers who shop at Colorado’s 148 King Soopers and City Market stores are being asked to “no longer openly carry firearms” into the stores, echoing a move made by retail rival Walmart a day earlier.
In its announcement, Cincinnati-based Kroger, the parent company of King Soopers and City Market, said its request applies to anybody who shops in its stores with the exception of law enforcement officers.
“Our No. 1 priority is the safety of our associates and customers,” Kelli McGannon, a King Soopers spokeswoman, said Wednesday.
The announcements from Kroger and Walmart come in the wake of a series of mass shootings in the country over the last month — the most recent in Odessa, Texas that claimed seven lives over the weekend.
King Soopers, in its statement, said it is “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.”
Walmart was the site of a mass killing on Aug. 3 in El Paso, Texas, where 22 people were killed by a gunman. Five days earlier, a disgruntled employee shot and killed two colleagues and wounded a police officer at a Walmart store in Southaven, Miss.
In Colorado, a gunman killed three people at a Walmart in Thornton in 2017, while just last week a person was shot multiple times in a Walmart parking lot in Lakewood, the victim of an alleged argument over a parking space.
King Soopers itself hasn’t been immune to gun violence in recent years, though shootings on its property have happened outside the stores. On Aug. 6, a man was shot and injured at a King Soopers gas station in Castle Rock, while last year a man was fired at multiple times in the parking lot of a King Soopers in Englewood.
Last spring, police were on the lookout for an armed man who robbed a half dozen King Soopers stores throughout the metro area.