EDITORIAL: No one needs to carry a gun at the grocery
For most people, going to the grocery is not an experience that requires a personal safety plan.
The most dangerous thing anyone would expect to see at a Giant is a rogue child with a cart or possibly a shorter person trying to get something off the top shelf.
So when shoppers at the Giant at 205 Glen Drive in East Manchester Township saw a man with a large handgun on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 29, they were understandably shocked and frightened.
Ryan Flohr, of Dover Township, posted on Facebook that he carried his gun, like he usually does, into the store and didn't see any signs saying he could not open carry.
Northeastern Regional Police said the store was evacuated, although Flohr told The York Dispatch that people were coming and going as usual.
Flohr told police that he was exercising his right to open carry. Police said he was cooperative and is legally allowed to own and carry the gun.
He said he carries his handgun because of people looking to shoot a place up.
Now, it's true, there have been a number of mass shootings recently. On Aug. 3, 22 people were killed at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. The next day, nine were killed in Dayton, Ohio. On Aug. 31, seven were killed throughout Odessa, Texas.
And while we can debate whether the right person with a gun could have stopped those murders, there is one irrefutable fact: They didn't. In each case, the shooter was either killed or arrested by law enforcement. You know, the people who are trained to handle guns and people with guns.
In the wake of this, several major retailers have changed their policies and are now asking customers to not bring their firearms into their stores. That's the policy at Giant.
"We respectfully request that customers not bring firearms in our stores even if permitted by applicable state and local laws," Giant Food Stores said in a statement the day after the Flohr incident.
Yes, in Pennsylvania gun owners are allowed to open carry their weapons, even in grocery stores.
Really, though, what's the point?
Sure, if you're trying to scare the people around you, carrying a gun is a good way to do that. And if you want to intimidate people, packing heat can do that, too.
But if you think you're going to stop an active shooter, you might want to think again.
And if you're so concerned about your personal safety that you feel the need to carry a gun when buying groceries, maybe you should just have your food delivered to your house.