Walmart made national news a few weeks back when it announced that it would no longer sell ammunition made for military-style rifles or handguns. It went a step further on September 3 by “respectfully requesting” that customers refrain from openly carrying guns in their stores. Walmart employees are instructed to take a non-confrontational approach with peaceful customers who openly carry but notify law enforcement if a customer or employee feels unsafe. This shift by the retail giant was in response to a gunman killing 22 at a Walmart in El Paso last month. Other chains following suit include Kroger, CVS, Walgreens, and Wegmans. Starbucks was one of the first companies to state its preference for customers to not open carry in 2013.
Where Georgia stands
While the change doesn’t outright ban guns, it is something that businesses could do in states that do not have a law on the books prohibiting businesses from not allowing open carry. The Second Amendment enables U.S. citizens the right bear arms, but citizens need a permit to open carry in specially designated areas here in Georgia. Nevertheless, retailers and businesses can prohibit guns of any sort on its premises.
Shifting winds on guns
Gun rights advocates and gun control advocates are active and often prove willing to protest a business. Nevertheless, Walmart’s lighter touch in asking gun owners to not open carry seems to have found rare middle ground on this hotly debated issue. It also is illustrating that businesses are finding a voice to institute change at least within the confines of their businesses regarding guns, which many gun owners will admit is within the rights of the company.