Panera Bread, a popular bakery-cafe chain with more than 1,800 locations across the Untied States, became the latest company urging customers to abstain from bringing firearms into their stores. Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America announced the development on Monday in a press release on the organization’s website, praising Panera CEO Ronald M. Shiach for the company’s decision.
“We are thrilled that after months of discussions between Panera and Moms Demand Action, Panera is taking a proactive position in favor of our families’ safety by putting a new gun policy in place. Moms are the consumers-in-chief of our households and we will reward companies that take a stand for our families’ safety,” said Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts.
Earlier this year, retail giant Target and restaurant chain Chipotle made similar changes in policy, which company spokespeople refer to as requests rather than hard and fast rules. Shiach told CNBC that Panera will continue to abide by state and local laws regarding firearm carry, and that employees will not be putting up any signs in stores.
“We’re certainly not going to put our associates in the position of confronting someone carrying a gun,” Shiach said. “We won’t put our café management in the position of being law enforcement.”
Moms Demand Action is claiming the move as another victory in a series of petition drives that urge businesses to close their doors to firearm-carrying partons. With chains like Starbucks and Chipotle, the petitions came after demonstrations by open carry firearm advocates, which the gun control group characterized as threatening. USA Today reports that Moms Demand Action is currently running a media blitz on Kroger stores to prohibit firearm carry in its locations, but the retailer—the third-largest retail chain in the world—promptly declined to change their policies.
“Our long-standing policy on this issue is to follow state and local laws and to ask customers to be respectful of others while shopping,” Kroger said in a statement. “We know that our customers are passionate on both sides of this issue, and we trust them to be responsible in our stores.”
Gun owners have largely criticized Moms Demand Action’s petition drives, saying that the campaign is merely a grab for attention. Some Second Amendment advocates have initiated boycotts against companies who have sided with the gun control group, but other gun owners say that they will continue to carry a firearm for protection despite requests to leave their firearms at home.
“No guns—no business. I will not allow you to make me a target,” wrote one of the many irate commentors on Panera’s Facebook page.