Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A constitutional debate? Or a business out-of-touch w/ its community?

The arrival of a new Mariano’s supermarket within a neighborhood or community these days is usually an occasion for local celebration.

Wasn't posted on Mariano's Opening Day in Northbrook
The chain of markets that offer a somewhat upscale shopping experience for food (they stock some items that the local Jewel finds to be a tad esoteric) is usually seen as a reason to celebrate.

YET UP IN suburban Northbrook, people were picketing because the new Mariano’s had management that wouldn’t take up their pet cause – concealed carry of firearms on one’s person.

Activists said they would be at the store when it opened for business Tuesday morning because they want the store to post those stickers that depict a red slash though a silhouette of a pistol.

Making it clear that people who feel the need to carry a firearm are not welcome in the store. As in they ought to leave the gun inside their cars while they shop inside for groceries.

Now insofar as the law in Illinois is concerned, people can get permits that allow them to carry a pistol in a shoulder holster or a purse (open-carry is a separate issue). Which means a shopper with a permit could have his pistol on his person while picking out a piece of trout or grabbing a gallon of milk.

STATE LAW DOES permit businesses that don’t wish to have firearms on their premises to post the stickers on their doors that the activists desire. In short, they want their new Mariano’s to make a political statement!

One that the Mariano’s management indicates they’re not willing to make.

WBBM-AM radio reported that Mariano’s parent company justified its actions by saying it is in compliance with Illinois law. They say their Chicago-based locations do post such stickers, because city ordinances require them in the stores that also sell alcoholic beverages.

It's not exactly Georgia
Short of a state law that would require the stickers in all their stores in Illinois, they’re not about to go any farther than they have to.

WHICH MAKES SOME sense. Mariano’s is in the business of selling groceries and some prepared-food items. It isn’t a social organization out to make statements on anything.

So the idea that it doesn’t want to tick off anyone by bringing up what it wants to regard as an irrelevant issue is to be expected.

But it also makes a certain amount of sense that a business doesn’t want to needlessly tick off its customer base. Which in the case of this new supermarket is the north suburban area in and around Northbrook.

It’s not exactly a rural community filled with people who think they’re about to take their shotgun out and kill their dinner tonight. If anything, it is a community inclined to be sympathetic to rules and restrictions intended to reduce the potential for crime.

THOSE WOULD INCLUDE restricting the access to weapons by people who aren’t the police. It’s not one of those communities filled with people who think they’re going to be called upon to shoot someone else to defend themselves against a would-be mugger.

Let’s not forget that Northbrook is just a couple of towns from Morton Grove – which was once the first community in the nation to ban the sale and ownership of firearms.

It makes me wonder if Mariano’s management is that out-of-touch with who their customers are. It’s not like this is a store in Kennesaw or Nelson in Georgia – the communities that require their adult residents to own firearms.

Of course, if Mariano’s were to now decide to add the desired stickers, they’ll wind up attracting the attention of the National Rifle Association and every other gun group.

THEY MAY EVEN wind up like those Starbuck’s franchises in certain states where gun owners make a point of bringing their weapons into the stores and making sure everybody knows they’re armed while they buy a cup of overpriced coffee.

Which puts Mariano’s in a very awkward position – one they may not be able to escape from. Unless people decide that the novelty of the exotic food items they can get from a Mariano’s makes them overcome any concern they have about firearms.

If people get hungry enough, that may become a very real possibility.


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