Kroger investors gathering in the greater Cincinnati area were met with a protest demanding the national grocer/retailer reconsider its store policy that allows citizens to openly carry weapons in its stores.
The investors meeting was originally scheduled to meet at the Marriott hotel near the greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport Wednesday. However, the meeting was moved to the campus of the Northern Kentucky University, about 15 minutes away.
“We don’t really know why the meeting was moved,” said Melanie Sokhey, a spokesperson for the Indiana chapter of Moms Demand Action. “But we heard that the open carry people had planned to form a human ring around the hotel to shield the investors from us.”
Melanie (and I) found it rather amusing that a group advocating for the general population to carry loaded weapons any time anywhere would be afraid of a group of moms openly opposed to guns and violence.
Moms Demand Action members and advocates from Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee traveled to the tri-state area to urge Kroger to change a policy they feel puts children and families directly in harm’s way. The grocery chain doesn’t have a policy in place that prohibits patrons from openly carrying loaded weapons inside. Kroger officials have said the laws within the states where their stores are located are sufficient enough to keep their patrons safe. Moms Demand Action says that isn’t enough and stronger corporate policies are needed.
“We feel very strongly about doing something in this rising tide of gun violence in our country,” said Sokhey. “Kroger is one of the largest grocery retailers in the country and they should set an example for other retailers.”
The demonstration wasn’t as direct as Moms Demand Action would have liked. Sokhey said they were kept about 100 yards away from the entrance to the investors meeting and couldn’t interact with investors as they went inside. Still, she feels their presence brought some attention to the issue.
“We knew any effort to make change in the policy and the culture would be a marathon and not a sprint,” said Sokhey. “All of us have a threshold for how much we can take before we get involved to make that change. For me, (the final straw) was Newtown. Others are reaching that threshold as our numbers are growing every day.”
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America began in 2012 with a Facebook page initiated by Indianapolis resident Shannon Watts. The page was Watts’ response to the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school. The grassroots movement has since grown to an email list of over 2000 people in Indiana and a chapter in every state.