Hawaii grocery chain Foodland takes the Ostrich approach to violent crime

Hawaii grocery chain Foodland takes the Ostrich approach to violent crime
AP Photo/Jon Gambrell

Violent crime is a fact of life. It’s an unfortunate part of human nature. There are people who accept that and adapt to it, and then there are those who choose to pretend they can solve it by pretending it doesn’t exist or use meaningless responses they pretend will solve it.


One of the more popular meaningless responses is “no guns allowed” signage. It’s common and totally ineffective. Despite evidence that those signs don’t deter attackers and only disarm the lawful, organizations keep repeating it. Recall the Vermont hospital gun ban, implemented after the failure of a gun-free zone in the 2017 Bronx-Lebanon hospital attack.

Going further back in time, the 2015 Islamic terror attack at the Chattanooga Marine Recruiting Office had visual evidence of the failure of gun-free zones, with an image of a bullet hole-ridden “No guns allowed” sign burned into the memories of anyone who paid attention.

But as the old saying goes, insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Enter Hawaii’s largest and oldest locally-owned supermarket chain: Foodland, which operates over 32 stores in the island chain. Hawaii Firearms Coalition posted this on their Facebook feed:

Foodland: Hawaii’s First Anti-Gun Company?

Nearly a month ago, Honolulu passed Bill 57, which effectively prohibited firearms in most locations. The bill included a provision stating that carrying firearms in private businesses without permission was banned, making it the default policy for all companies to disallow guns.

Another provision in the bill required specific signage with certain criteria and placement, but since the default stance was “No Guns Allowed” these signs were not mandatory. As a result, they have rarely been seen in public, except on government buildings and public transportation.

However, that changed today. We have received multiple reports that Foodland stores across Oahu have prominently displayed signs on their doors stating that firearms are not allowed.

As previously mentioned, the default policy for all businesses is to prohibit the carrying of firearms unless a “guns allowed” sign is posted. Therefore, the only reason we can infer for a company to display such a sign is to showcase their opposition to guns.

It’s important to note that these signs do not affect whether individuals can carry firearms inside the store. Moreover, it is widely known that these signs do not deter criminals or individuals with malicious intent.

So, aside from advertising an anti-gun stance, there seems to be no practical purpose for posting these signs.

These signs specifically target one group of people: law-abiding gun owners in Hawaii, of which there are many. According to the Attorney General’s office, there are approximately 2 million firearms in Hawaii, owned by over one hundred thousand registered individuals, and this number is expected to grow.

It’s possible that Foodland was unaware of these facts, or perhaps this was the action of a rogue employee; we cannot say for certain.

However, if you wish to express your identity as a law-abiding gun owner and potentially make different shopping choices based on these signs, you can contact Foodland through email at [email protected] or reach their corporate customer service at (808) 452-1500 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily.


Hawaii has some of the worst gun laws in the nation. Putting the names of citizens on a gun owners naughty list is one of the most egregious things that the state has done. Creating a default “no” on carry is up there too. It is never going to prevent a mass shooting. On the contrary, lawful citizens with carry permits will leave their guns in their cars before entering a store, which makes them defenseless in the event of a mass shooting and makes the gun more likely to be stolen and enter the criminal black market.

While lawsuits are underway to flip the carry default to yes from no, gun owners, even those not living in Hawaii, should contact Foodland’s stores and remind them of how gun-free zone signs don’t work. In fact, as the “manifesto” of the white supremacist who targeted black people in Buffalo shows, it encourages methodical mass shooters to pick the gun-free zone as a target to maximize the victim count. Foodland may or may not change their policy, but they need to know that what they’re doing is ineffective and may well result in their stores being targeted like the Tops store in Buffalo.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member