Credit card giant Visa publicly urged Congress to enact expanded background checks and "red flag" laws that remove guns from people who may present dangers to others. Large retailers such as Aldi, CVS, Target, Costco, Walmart, and Walgreens have recently issued statements asking customers to stop open-carrying guns inside their stores.
Yesterday, they were joined by Pittsburgh-based grocery chain Giant Eagle.
“Giant Eagle has a longstanding policy that guides our Team Members on instances when someone shares a concern about a customer who openly carries a firearm in our store,” reads a statement. “Giant Eagle has made the decision to update this policy, stating the company’s preference that customers not openly carry firearms in any of our Giant Eagle, Market District or GetGo locations.”
Giant Eagle added in the statement that the company is “committed to creating a safe and comfortable working and shopping experience” and that it respects the rights of individuals customers but also recognizes the heightened concerns of shoppers who may feel uncomfortable seeing anyone other than law enforcement with a weapon.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto traveled to Washington earlier this week to lobby U.S. senators to introduce gun-reform legislation. U.S. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) didn’t indicate whether he would introduce any legislation.
Peduto applauded Giant Eagle's decision and thanked the company on Twitter.
According to USA Today, Giant Eagle has joined 16 other retailers and restaurant chains in asking customers not to open carry in their locations. Many of the announcements followed soon after a mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart where 22 people were killed.
However, none of these large companies have banned firearms outright in their locations. Legal experts say retailers and restaurants can, in fact, refuse service to customers carrying guns, as gun owners are not a protected class under the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which bans discrimination against people based on religious, gender, race, national origin, and other protected groups.