Grocery store chain goes woke after permitless carry gets signed

Almost a month ago residents of the Buckeye State celebrated the passage and signing of permitless carry into law. Supporters of freedom and our fundamental right to keep and bear arms know and understand this new law does not increase who may or may not be in possession of firearms, it simply removes restrictions from the law abiding to do so. Permitting is akin to a poll tax and the removal of need to have a permit to possess a firearm in public aligns the law closer with attaining a non-infringed status. That all being said, not everyone is celebrating this real commonsense measure. A popular grocery chain in Ohio, Meijer, just after the signing of the permitless carry law posted “no guns allowed” signs on their doors.

According to Wikipedia, Meijer services Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, and Wisconsin. This policy, from what I’ve gathered, is a corporate one.

I was originally alerted of this news tip from an Ohio patriot, Craig Fritz, a Lifetime NRA and Second Amendment Foundation member, and annual member of the Ohio Rifle and Pistol Association. Fritz clearly puts his support and money where his mouth is and seeing the “no guns allowed” sign at his local grocer drew some ire. Here’s one of the photos Fritz shared with me.

Fritz sent Meijer several pieces of correspondence and letters on this subject. From one of his letters:

Quick note to express my displeasure with your decision to not allow me to protect my family and myself while shopping in your store. I believe policies put in place based on feelings and not facts [are] not good policies.

Please read the following statistics carefully.

A Crime Prevention Research Center study using data from 1950 to 2019 concluded that 94% of mass shootings occur in GUN FREE ZONES.

A CDC study found that on average there were 1,110,000 defensive gun uses every year in the United States. They also found that in 81.9% of those defensive uses never resulted in a shot being fired.

Ohio has permitted conceal carry since 2004. As of 2019, 1 in 15 Ohioans have concealed carry permits.

I am one of those permit holders. I believe your restrictions on my ability to protect my family and myself forces me shop elsewhere. I know I’m not the only one who feel this way.

What kind of lip service did Fritz receive in response?

It was kind of Nikki to get back with Fritz on the company’s policy. The corporate message that they wish to “ensure a shopping environment that is safe and welcoming to everyone” is noted. That message does not include the safety of Fritz and others that wish to self-defend. I wanted to get a clearer understanding myself on exactly what Meijer has in place to safeguard their customers, since they expressed that store-goers cannot be armed on the property. I reached out to the company and wrote to them in part:

Given the company’s policy, what has your organization done to ensure the safety of your customers? Are you employing armed guards that will make sure anyone that is subject to criminal attacks will be protected? Any elaboration that you can provide which will let my readers and your customer’s know that you’re taking accountability for everyone safety would be appreciated. What further efforts has your company made since you expect customers to remain disarmed and unable to self-defend?

Judy, another member of Customer Care did get back to me. Some of what she had to say was substantially identical to what was sent to Fritz.

I apologize for your recent experience regarding our gun policy. Providing a positive customer experience is a priority at Meijer and I would like to thank you for taking the time to communicate your concern. If we plan to succeed in the future, we depend on our customers to provide us with their honest feedback.
I am forwarding your concern to our Store Director for further review. Please expect to hear back from them directly.
I sincerely hope we have the opportunity to serve you again in the future. We appreciate your business.
In the next move, I did hear back directly from a Store Director, with another punt:

John

Here is the contact info for the Senior Director of Communications and the Public Relations Manger.

Senior Director of communications, Frank Gugliemi [redacted number] [redacted email address] Public Relation Manager, Joseph Hirshmugl [redacted email address]

Dane Williams | GM/ Service Line Leader | East Cleveland Market Meijer #307

I then followed up with both Mr. Gugliemi and Mr. Hirshmugl. Meijer does have both of these individuals listed on their corporate “news room” contact page. The message I sent them was the same as what I sent in my original correspondence, however I did add some more to my query. In addition, I brought up several incidents that occurred at Meijer locations, which I asked them to speak for in light of their policy to leave the law abiding defenseless:

Two People Stabbed Inside Meijer Store, Suspect at Large 2/22/2022

Adrian man, 29, jailed in stabbing death of 85-year-old man at Meijer store 9/17/2020

Man found dead in Meijer parking lot 3/23/2012

Grocery store employee accused of throwing feces at coworker 1/19/2022

Man Found Dead In Burning Vehicle Outside Of Lenox Township Meijer Store 11/23/2021

I sent links to even more stories, but I think you get the idea, even if (spoiler alert) Meijer management did not.

I signed off my message to them with:

Looking forward to your reply. I, as well as my readers, are very much interested in learning more about your policy and stance on leaving shoppers unable to lawfully self-defend.

Where does this land us? After not hearing from both Mr. Gugliemi and Mr. Hirshmugl in response to my Friday afternoon email, I did write them back again the following Tuesday. My message to them was that I felt it was important to fully understand the company’s policy and give them an opportunity to speak to my queries.

I would appreciate comment on my query in order to give your organization an opportunity to represent your stance. I feel giving you this chance is important. Please review my former correspondence below.

And 16 hours later I informed them I was sending out copy in 30 minutes (which I actually gave them more than 2 hours to respond to that message).

Which brings us to present time. If Meijer wants to have a “no guns allowed” policy, that’s their prerogative, and I respect that. I don’t agree with it, but I respect it. Much like Fritz, I find it suspect that the company mysteriously put these signs out after the passage and signing of the Ohio permitless carry law. It’s as if they were wholly unaware of the law in Ohio which previously allowed permitted people to carry into their stores. I asked Fritz, my tipster on this piece, his view of the whole debacle and this is what he had to tell me:

I’ve always had the attitude that I carry to protect myself and my family. I didn’t get the permit to be a crime fighter. My wife and I are always aware of exit points and ways to elude problems. I look at my weapon as the last option. And the thing that people don’t understand is concealed carry makes everyone safer. The bad guys don’t know who might be armed. That CDC study claimed at least 1,110,000 defensive gun uses every year on average. With something like 81% of those ending without a shot being fired.

Well Craig Fritz, I hope that Meijer takes into account those statistics and sentiments. They can’t claim ignorance to these facts. They’re recorded on the record here in the pages of Bearing Arms that you told them. Those of you who shop at these stores and are freedom loving should do some soul searching on if this business fits your needs. There are plenty of businesses out there that are not members of the anti-freedom caucus that you can patronize. In the meantime you can always express how you feel about this policy and what your thoughts are. Perhaps send in your own email commentary?

From the corporate “news room” contact page:

Frank Guglielmi

Senior Director of Communications
[email protected]
(616) 791-3814

Joe Hirschmugl

Public Relations Manager
[email protected]
(616) 791-3943

Christina Fecher

Public Relations Manager
[email protected]
(616) 735-7968

Meijer Media Line

(952) 346-6608

And there is the “contact us” page:

https://help.meijer.com/s/contact