Meijer Considers Open Carry Restriction, Could Cause Backlash
The Retailer is Developing New Policies for Gun Owners That Have a Chance to Backfire
LANSING (Great Lakes News) - Meijer could soon join a growing list of businesses that gun owners are encouraged not to patronize. Grand Rapids based retail giant Meijer is currently evaluating their open carry policy and are considering changing their policy regarding customers carrying firearms in their stores.
The retailer has previously removed the sale of firearms from their stores due to the complexity of regulations and increased the age of purchase for ammunition over safety concerns. In the wake of a series of shootings throughout the United States, one of which occurred at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, pressures for retailers to restrict access to firearms is mounting. Walmart announced that they will not be severely restricting the sale of ammo and actively discouraging open carry, with Kroger joining Walmart soon after.
“In light of recent events, we are evaluating our ammunition offerings as well as our policies regarding customers carrying firearms into our stores,” said Frank J. Guglielmi, Meijer’s Senior Director of Communications. “Throughout this process we will continue to listen to our customers and do what is needed to ensure they feel safe while shopping our stores.”
If Meijer decides to follow Walmart and Kroger’s lead, they could experience a drop in sales.
“I can tell you there are folks who are already organizing boycotts of Walmart,” said Steve Dulan, Professor of Firearms Law at West Michigan’s Cooley Law School. “There are going to try and effect Walmart's bottom line. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw the same thing with Meijer.”
Dulan, who is also a member of the board of directors for the Michigan Coalition of Responsible Gun Owners, believes that Meijer restricting open carry would mark a departure from their position of adhering to standards set by the state. Michigan allows open carry for both long and hand guns.
“This is out of character for them. They have always prided themselves in obeying Michigan law,” Dulan said. “I don’t know of any instance of any open carriers causing any problems at a Meijer location. To me, they see this as pandering to the anti-gun crowd. Gun owners see this as weakness and an effort to further demonize them.”
In order for a boycott of any form to have an impact, it will require a unified effort from gun owners. The classic example of an active boycott by the gun-owning community is Dick’s Sporting goods, with sales dropping initially but the ultimate effectiveness of the boycott being debatable. In order for Meijer to feel any sort of pressure gun owners would need to act in large numbers.
“It’s frowned upon by shooters if anybody even step foot in a Dick’s sporting goods,” Dulan said. “If enough gun owners decide not to shop at Meijer it might have an impact on their bottom line.”
Meijer should announce their official changes sometime in the next few weeks.