At least three Texas grocers have chosen to opt out of the state’s open-carry gun law, which goes into effect on Friday, January 1. More than 800,000 Texans are already registered as concealed weapon carriers, according to the Crime Prevention Research Center.
In Texas, national retailers Whole Foods and Safeway have pledged not to allow customers to openly carry their weapons inside stores, as well as the Texas-based supermarket chain H-E-B, founded in 1905. H-E-B, an acronym for “Here Everything’s Better,” has more than 350 stores throughout Texas and northern Mexico.
In a statement, H-E-B explained that the decision to keep its store policy in compliance with the dated concealed-carry law was in compliance with state regulations regarding the sale of alcoholic beverages.
“As a retailer of alcohol, long guns and unlicensed guns are prohibited on our property under the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission rules,” H-E-B said in a statement. “H-E-B maintains the same policy we have for years, only concealed licensed handguns are allowed on our property.”
As for other grocers, local activists have been petitioning for stores to remain concealed-carry, giving way to the trending Twitter hashtag #GroceriesNotGuns. “I don’t know why in a grocery store I would need to open carry,” Leigh Cutter, a parent and concealed handgun permit owner, told USA Today. “As long as I have it on my person, I would be just fine.”