Grocery Stores and Guns: Is it a Stable Duo?


Za'Niya Cline, Writer

You’re strolling through Walmart, just there to pick up a few things for Sunday dinner. You bump into an individual with an AR-15 strapped onto his back. What is your immediate reaction? Do you feel safe and secure? Threatened maybe? A flurry of emotions could be rushing through your head, but you have at least one question, “Why is this person carrying an AR-15 in Wal-Mart?”

Wal-Mart, Kroger, and various other grocery chains across America have asked their customers to leave their firearms at home. Gun violence is an issue in America, and it’s absurd that it’s taken this long for people to pay attention to it. “There have been more mass shootings than days this year,” CBS News stated. This means that there are more than one mass shootings per day. Every day, on average, there are 310 people are shot in the United States. To help you, that would be 6 people a day in Bob Jones. Acknowledging the problem is only one step. Acting on it is another.

I surveyed Bob Jones students to see how they felt about open carry of guns as well as their opinion on gun rights in general. “I think guns are very useful for making a living from hunting or, worst-case scenario, protection, but assault rifles do not have a good purpose, other than to kill mass amounts of people, in my opinion,” Isabella Moreno, junior, shared. According to The Trace, there are roughly 638,000 machine guns in circulation in the United States. Sophomore Brandon Smith added, “I am not anti-gun, but pro harder-to-get-a-gun and I don’t think people other than law enforcement when they are working should be allowed to carry guns around, especially openly because for one your more than likely not going to use it and two you’re scaring and treating the people around you and they will see you as a threat to their lives even if your intention is to protect yourself.” According to Giffords Law Center, only 12 states have mandatory background checks in order for a citizen to purchase a firearm. 

Not every poll result was neutral or anti-gun. Some responses were impractical or downright immature, like “guns are cool” by “Mark,” some provided some actual insight. Shelby West, junior, said, “I think that owning arms is a right that needs to be protected, but the process of obtaining and keeping a gun should be better regulated. If the United States banned guns altogether, people would find a way to get guns from somewhere else, like Mexico. A properly trained, mentally sane citizen with a spotless criminal record should be able to own a gun to protect themselves.” Though, as of March 10th, it is now illegal to purchase a firearm without a background check in an effort to reduce gun violence. Caleb McDonald, a junior, added, “I think citizens have the right to bear arms to protect themselves if any dangers were to occur.” While he is correct, there were only 92 murder victims in the UK in 2018, while there were 340 mass shootings in the US in 2018. The UK’s gun control is more strict than the US’s. 

Since all my interviews and poll results came from non-gun owners, I took it upon myself, who is neutral/anti-gun, to ask my pro-gun parents their opinion. They both keep firearms inside of the house, secured and under lock. My mother Ashley Barnes said, “You are supposed to protect yourself but only in self-defense.” Of course, more than half of the shootings in America were not defense-related. My step-dad Terrick Barnes responded, “With all of the mass shootings that we have witnessed, I feel that we all should be prepared in any situation.” Both of my parents have used their firearms to protect themselves or their children at least once in their lives.

Firearms can be useful but also a curse. Even if you are pro-gun, you need to acknowledge the problem with the distribution of firearms in America. Our mass shootings per year far outweigh those in other countries, those with stricter gun laws. We may be the land of the free, but at what cost?