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Protesters take argument to Kroger shareholders

Bill Rinehart

As Kroger shareholders met in Erlanger Wednesday morning, protesters gathered outside demanding a change to store policy. The nation's biggest supermarket company does not stop customers from coming into a store with a firearm, if state laws permit.  For one advocacy group that can be a problem. 

Moms Demand Action wants Kroger to join other retailers like Target and Chipotle in banning the open carrying of guns. Mary Reed was among the demonstrators. In 2011, she was wounded outside a Tuscon, Arizona, Safeway store when a gunman opened fire on US Representative Gabby Giffords. Giffords, Reed and 16 other people were hit. Six died. 

Reed says now, if she sees someone shopping with a gun, she wonders if they are qualified to handle it; own it legally; or if they are mentally healthy.

Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts says open carry is legal in more than 40 states and there’s no background check, no permits and no training required. 

In a statement, Kroger says it realizes there is passion on both sides of the issue and it will follow local and state laws regarding open carry. The company says it trusts customers to be responsible and respectful.  

WVXU's Tana Weingartner reported on the issue for NPR in September. Listen to her story here.