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Kroger to stop selling guns to patrons under 21


Kroger Co. on Thursday announced it would join two other major U.S. retailers in upping the minimum age to 21 for patrons looking to purchase firearms.


The nation’s largest supermarket chain said it would raise the age to buy ammunition and guns at all Fred Meyer locations in response to the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, the Wall Street Journal reported.


The gunman, using a legally purchased AR-15, unleashed a barrage of bullets in the school hallways on Valentine’s Day. Former student Nikolas Cruz is accused of killing 17 and injuring more than a dozen before he was arrested the same day.


Teen survivors of the bloody attack have since called on lawmakers to implement gun safety laws to ensure such a massacre never occurs again.


“Recent events demonstrate the need for additional action on the part of responsible gun retailers,” Kroger said in a statement.


“We believe these are common sense steps we can take immediately that are in line with our values and our vision.”


As politicians continued to debate policy change, retailers Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart similarly announced they would stop selling firearms and ammunition to those under 21.


Dick’s said it also intends to ban the sale of assault weapons like the one used in the Parkland shooting, while Walmart said it removed items assembling assault rifles from its website. 


That leaves Bass Pro Shops, which also includes Cabela’s, as the one of the few major retailers still selling semi-automatic assault-style rifles, Time reported. 


Kroger sells firearms at 43 Fred Meyer locations in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, according to the Journal. The chain previously stopped selling assault-style weapons in the latter three states and will no longer take special orders for the firearms in Alaska.


Gun control advocates have long called on the Cincinnati-based chain to end the sale of guns at its stores. The New York City Employee’s Retirement System in 2016 voted to sell its stakes in Kroger’s Fred Meyer division in a bid to pressure it to remove firearms from the shelves.


The Parkland survivors have similarly been pressuring businesses to tighten their policies and cut ties with the NRA. Their passionate social media campaign and call for boycott have prompted companies like Delta and United Airlines, MetLife Insurance and first National Bank of Omaha to end perks for members of the association.

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