The Kroger grocery store chain was once lauded by gun owners for standing up to the lunacy of gun control advocates who demanded they ban customers with open or concealed carry weapons from their retail outlets.
Sadly, it appears that the pressure from those who seek to eradicate firearms and the Second Amendment have finally succeeded in wearing down the will of Kroger to resist, not when it comes to open or concealed carry of handguns, but on the issue of so-called “assault weapons” like the AR-15 and other semi-automatic rifles in common use.
According to The Shooting Wire, their affiliate The Outdoor Wire recently obtained a memo from Kroger executives which informed all print magazine distributors who serviced Kroger brand and affiliated stores that the grocery chain would no longer carry, display or sell magazines with “assault weapons content,” though firearms-related publications not containing such content would still be permitted.
The memo further instructed Kroger employees on how to redesign their magazine display racks and called for them to conduct their own reviews to “ensure” no publication containing the now-banned content remained.
Along with the memo came an accompanying list which specifically named 57 publications which were to be removed and no longer sold, such as: “Guns & Ammo, Guns Magazine, Firearm News, Military Surplus, Modern Firearms, On Target, Recoil, Rifle Shooter, S.W.A.T., Special Weapons, Tactical Firearms, Gun Buyer Annual, Gun Guide, Gun World, and World of Firepower,” to name just a few.
The broad list, as well as any unnamed publication which may also fall under the imposed ban on “assault weapons content” — no doubt to include the various publications of the National Rifle Association — would seem to signify that Kroger was comfortable in siding with the vocal anti-gun advocates at the risk of angering customers who may be lawful owners of the targeted class of firearms, a business decision they may come to regret.
The Shooting Wire noted that while some people may not find the removal of certain firearms-related magazines as that big of a deal, it is a crushing blow to publishers who already operate in a declining market with razor-thin margins, as well as their loyal readers.
“In many locations, grocery stores are essentially the only remaining newsstands of any size and comprehensive variety. They’re the single best link between publishers and their potential readers,” noted The Shooting Wire. “If your titles are removed, you lose the potential to reach those readers. Without those sites, your distribution universe is also diminished. Lower distribution means lower revenues and already-tight numbers become even more constricting.”
It is worth noting that this move by Kroger, while incredibly dismaying to Second Amendment supporters and gun owners and enthusiasts of perfectly legal so-called “assault weapons,” does not appear to be a violation of the First Amendment, as retailers enjoy the right to decide which products they will or won’t carry in their stores.
It does, however, appear to be an act of censorship by a private corporation designed to silence the viewpoints of a certain segment of the population that has been harshly and unfairly demonized by the left.
Independent Journal Review pointed out that this decision by Kroger came just weeks after they had joined in with the likes of Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart in announcing that they would no longer sell firearms or ammunition of any kind through their affiliated Fred Meyer general merchandise stores to adults younger than 21 years of age.
In a statement defending that particular decision — which many view as discriminatory toward legal adults between the ages of 18-20 — Kroger said, “We follow all state and local laws regulating the sales of sporting-related firearms at our select general-merchandise Fred Meyer stores.”
Though apparently not anti-discrimination laws.
The statement continued, “Recent events demonstrate the need for additional action on the part of responsible gun retailers. We are raising the minimum age to 21 to purchase firearms and ammunition in all of our Fred Meyer locations that sell firearms. We stopped selling assault-style rifles in our Oregon, Washington and Idaho Fred Meyer stores several years ago and we will no longer accept any special-orders of these weapons in Alaska.”
This is an incredibly disappointing move, both in regard to the self-imposed age requirements as well as the removal of “assault weapons” publications, from a grocery outlet that used to at least appear as though it stood strong in defense of the Constitutional rights of American citizens.
Unfortunately for them, they will likely lose business now as customers who abhor discrimination and censorship on the basis of ideological viewpoints will simply take their grocery-purchasing money elsewhere.
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