Arkansans react to new open-carry policies from two pharmacies

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This May 4, 2009 photo, shows a CVS pharmacy in Worth, Ill. Drug chains CVS and Walgreens, as well as grocery chain Wegmans Food Market, have joined the chorus of retailers requesting that customers refrain from openly carrying firearms in their stores even where state laws allow it. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — Walgreens and CVS are the latest companies to take a stance on open-carry policies, and Northwest Arkansans have various opinions on the announcements.

In short statements posted last week, the pharmacy companies requested that customers not open carry in their stores, even in states where doing so is legal. Arkansas is one of those states.

This came as a slew of companies responded to the recent mass shootings and subsequent conversations about gun policy.

“I don’t necessarily agree with them on that, but they do have a right to do that,” said Jessie Lopez, the owner of JT Armory in Springdale. “As a citizen of the U.S., we all have rights, and we need to respect that.”

Others said the argument shouldn’t be about guns themselves but take each incident on a case-by-case basis.

“I honestly don’t think it matters if you open carry or not,” said Odalis Apolinar, a Northwest Arkansan. “It just depends on the person who’s carrying the weapon.”

Still, some applauded the companies for making the decision.

“I’m afraid of guns, and I don’t see any evidence that armed people roaming around in businesses is saving any lives,” said Rita Carver, a Northwest Arkansan. “I’d prefer that there not be any guns.”

Combined, CVS and Walgreens have more than 19,000 stores across the country. It’s unclear how the companies will compel customers to comply, as the policies are simply requests and not outright bans.

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