National corporate campaigns are not just the province of unions anymore. An organization that advocates for gun control, Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense In America, has gotten into the action as well. The group focuses on national retailers and chain restaurants via social media to pressure them to enact policies against the open carrying of guns in their establishments. The group has chapters in every state and has partnered with Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a bipartisan coalition of 15 mayors that advocates for laws that aim to reduce gun violence.
The Moms Demand Action group encourages shoppers to sign their online petitions, make phone calls to the headquarters of companies that permit the open carry of guns in their stores, and take photos of themselves shopping at competitors’ stores—which they encourage supporters to tweet to the company or post on the company’s Facebook page. In recent months, groups such as this one have expanded their efforts beyond social media by entering establishments, leafleting, and presenting petitions to customers. The group’s most recent campaign, #GroceriesNotGuns, has focused on large grocery store chains.
Not surprisingly, gun rights advocates have taken similar actions in support of a right to openly carry weapons into retailers’ facilities.
National retailers, particularly grocers, should review their policies and procedures relating to the open carry of weapons and ensure that their management is aware of these policies. Retailers without a policy and retailers that affirmatively allow the open carry of weapons in their stores will want to keep abreast of the activities of advocacy groups on both sides of the issue.