Publix ‘respectfully requests’ gun owners not carry them in its stores

Publix (Large)
The grocer joins other retailers urging customers: Leave your guns at home.

Publix is joining the growing list of retailers asking customers not to openly carry firearms in their stores.

The Lakeland-based supermarket chain announced in a statement to media outlets Wednesday that shoppers leave their guns behind.

“Publix respectfully requests that only law enforcement officials openly carry firearms in our stores,” spokesman Brian West wrote in a statement.

The request does not apply to Florida stores. Florida does not allow open carry.

However, the request would apply to other states where Publix operates including in Alabama, North Carolina and Virginia where open carry is legal, Georgia and Tennessee where open carry is allowed as long as the owner has a permit and in South Carolina where residents can carry long guns, but not handguns.

“Yet another leading grocery store chain has rejected gun extremism and said NO to open carry of firearms in their stores,” the group Moms Demand Action wrote on Twitter following the grocer’s announcement.

Calls for retailers to ban open carry in their stores began with Walmart after the big box giant requested its customers not bring guns into its stores. That move came after 22 people were killed in early August at a Walmart in El Paso.

Publix is no stranger to gun issues. Earlier this year a man was shot in the leg after his wife dropped her purse at the checkout lane and the gun inside discharged.

Later, an off-duty police officer’s gun accidentally went off at a store in South Florida.

Publix was also the stage for a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School die-in protesting the company’s fiscal support for elected officials and candidates activists perceived as being pro-National Rifle Association. Publix later agreed to reevaluate its policies on political contributions.

Still, Publix and other retailers aren’t exactly “banning” guns in their stores. Publix has “requested” people not bring their guns into their stores. They used similar language as Walmart in taking a stance on open carry in stores.

But at least one gun rights activist tested the not-quite-policy in Texas. According to the New York Times, David Amad and members of Open Carry Texas carried their guns openly into Walmart stores in the state and were not bothered by staff about it.

“They are ducking the issue. They are trying to get the gun haters to leave them alone, while at the same time leave us alone when we carry in their stores,” Amad told the New York Times.

Walmart responded that their policy was to avoid conflict with people who did not appear to pose a threat to shoppers and had procedures in place for management to approach customers who are making employees or other customers feel unsafe.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected].


8 comments

  • Bill Bro

    September 12, 2019 at 12:26 pm

    I shall continue to carry as I choose, and so will thousands of other Floridians who are protecting citizens who are sick, weak, or simply afraid. We remain quiet, but well-armed. This grandstanding by politicians and corporate giants is meaningless in the face of the Second Amendment.

  • Major Thomas

    September 12, 2019 at 12:51 pm

    This is your chance Winn Dixie – support open carry! “Real Americans are Beef People”

  • Rhonda

    September 12, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    Well I predict that criminals will now hit Publix up more since no one will be armed to stop them, and I also predict that the media will be silent about it

  • Valerie Sprieser

    September 12, 2019 at 3:13 pm

    What’s this respectfully BS . Get a spine and say NO OPEN CARRY ALLowed in Public’S supermarkets period!

    • Rich7553

      September 13, 2019 at 2:38 pm

      Why Valerie? Are you more afraid of the few firearms you can see than the millions you can’t see? Are visible firearms somehow more dangerous than those concealed?

  • Janice Crisp

    September 13, 2019 at 2:02 am

    Total Liberal Bullshit artical with nothing to contribute to the good and the welfare of society. If this is the best the journalist has then she should be ashamed to call herself a journalist.

  • Dan Dobson

    September 13, 2019 at 3:21 am

    I think you need to go fact check Publix open carry is permitted in Florida in route to during and heading back from fishing and hunting events. In any case you have proven to be anti-patriotic and no longer worthy of my hard-earned silver certificates.

  • mom/American

    September 15, 2019 at 11:36 pm

    My son went through all the background checks and classes in Tennessee. He got his liscense from the state to carry openly or concealed. Publix just told him tonight he had to leave the store for having his gun in a holster on him.

Comments are closed.


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