Three U.S. legislators from Connecticut wrote a letter to the Connecticut Food Association (CFA), urging them to ban the open carrying of guns in their member businesses, despite open carry being completely legal in the state. The CFA is a non-profit state trade association that represents about “300 retail food stores and 135 pharmacies” in the state.
U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Christopher Murphy , and U.S. Representative Elizabeth Esty – all Democrats representing the state of Connecticut – wrote a letter to the CFA, urging them “to implement a new policy that would prevent the open carry of guns in your member stores.”
Their letter was addressed to the president of the CFA Wayne Pesce and read:
“We write today to urge you to adopt a policy that would prohibit the open carry of firearms in your member stores. In doing so, you would be sending an important message about your commitment to the safety of your employees and customers. This would follow similar actions by many retailers, such as Chipotle, Sonic, Chili’s, Target, Panera Bread, Starbucks and Whole Foods.
“Although Connecticut law allows for open carry, supermarkets, food retailers, and other private establishments have the legal authority to ban firearms from their premises. There is simply no reason someone would need to bring their gun with them in order to purchase milk, bread, or other necessities at a grocery store. Customers should feel safe while shopping, and employees should not be fearful while doing their jobs. You have the opportunity to take a strong stance in support of creating a safe, welcoming environment in Connecticut’s food retailers.
“Again, we urge you to implement a new policy that would prevent the open carry of guns in your member stores. Thank you in advance for your consideration, and we look forward to your prompt response.” [Emphasis mine.]
In response, the CFA stated in a press release, according to CNS News:
“The Connecticut Food Association places the health and safety of its members, their employees and customers — and the public at large — first and foremost. We take their safety very seriously, and also recognize the importance of operating under existing state laws…Recognizing this is a passionate issue on all sides, the Connecticut Food Association is working with its membership and national affiliates to create and share best practice policies so our members can make informed decisions.”
They’re saying that no one needs a gun at all if all he’s doing is buying milk or bread at the grocery store. That’s like New York Governor Andrew Cuomo saying that no one needs ten bullets to kill a deer. They could have just as easily said there’s no reason for a teacher or official to bring a gun to a school if all they’re going to be doing is teaching little kids. Adam Lanza depended on the fact that there would be no one armed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It doesn’t matter if you’re at an elementary school or the grocery store, crimes can happen anywhere.
And criminals will often take the path of least resistance. If they know that guns will be banned from food retail stores in Connecticut, that essentially makes all those food retailers targets.
Now, their letter was specifically about open carry. They can’t really do anything about concealed carriers yet, because they wouldn’t want to urge retail associates to search customers for concealed firearms. Perhaps once the CFA agrees to implement a no open-carry policy on their customers, the next step will be to ban firearms altogether.