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Connecticut Lawmakers Call For Ban On Openly Carried Firearms In Stores

Gabrielle Giffords reaches out to President Barack Obama before the State of the Union Address begins Tuesday night. Giffords, a former congresswoman and gun violence victim, is sitting with U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-Conn., 5th District.
Gabrielle Giffords reaches out to President Barack Obama before the State of the Union Address begins Tuesday night. Giffords, a former congresswoman and gun violence victim, is sitting with U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-Conn., 5th District. Photo Credit: YouTube Screenshot / The White House

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- U.S. Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, both D-Conn., and U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-5, called on the Connecticut Food Agency to ban openly carried firearms in stores.

The legislators advocated for the implementation of a new policy in an open letter to CFA President Wayne Pesce.

“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,” wrote Murphy, Blumenthal and Esty.

Their request follows advocacy by local Moms Demand Action supporters and retailers that have banned openly carried firearms including Chili’s, Target, Panera Bread, Starbucks, Chipotle and Whole Foods.

State law currently allows anyone with a permit to openly carry a handgun, but private businesses can prohibit open carry in their stores.

The full letter to Pesce is as follows:

Dear Mr. Pesce:

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 food 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.

Sincerely, Christopher S. Murphy Richard Blumenthal Elizabeth H. Esty

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