Gun-rights advocates were offended by a petition drive held outside a Michigan grocery by the group Moms Demand Action, which asked the Kroger chain to ban openly carried firearms inside stores.
The gun-control group spent about a half hour Wednesday morning outside the store in Ann Arbor, reported the Ann Arbor News.
Kroger allows patrons to carry firearms inside stores nationwide if they follow state laws and regulations, but Moms Demand Action argues that shoppers can’t immediately tell whether the person is just another shopper or a homicidal maniac.
“You don’t know if they’re a responsible gun owner,” Kristen Moore told the newspaper.
But an official with Michigan Open Carry said the gun-control activists “don’t know what they’re talking about.”
“Is a criminal really going to carry a pistol openly?” said Tom Lambert, the pro-gun group’s vice president.
He said mass shootings are committed by those who obtain their weapons illegally or hide them before opening fire.
“Bad guys don’t holster a handgun,” he told the Ann Arbor News.
Lambert is not entirely correct. For example, James Holmes, who killed 12 people two years ago in a Colorado movie theater, had legally obtained the weapons he used and holstered at least one of them during his rampage, and state law permits the open carry of weapons.
Moore said her group did not want to ban all guns but instead hoped to pressure retailers to ban the open carry of firearms in stores, and Moms Demand Actions has successfully lobbied Chipotle, Starbucks, and Target.
The group was asked to leave the grand re-opening Saturday of a Kroger in Lansing, but activists were later invited inside to speak with the manager about their concerns.
“We’re not interested in confiscating the guns of law-abiding, legal gun owners,” Moore said.
She said concealed-carry permits holders must go through more extensive background checks and training to legally carry their weapons inside stores – which would still be permitted if openly carried guns were banned.
But Lambert said open carry was necessary to fight back against mass shooters.
“When the law fails, who is there to protect you?” he said. “We can pass all the laws we want, but they’re still going to fail.”
Moore said a legal gun owner was more likely to accidentally shoot a bystander than to stop a murderous rampage.
“I think it’s kind of a fantasy,” she said.
Watch this video report posted online by WJBK-TV: