I read a story this morning that made me sad. Not just due to my own nostalgia, but it made me sad for an entire industry.

Before I could read or write, I loved flipping through glossy magazines. One of the first things I learned to read was the Goofus and Gallant cartoons in Highlights magazine. I graduated to ones geared toward teens, then music, and, now, anything and everything possible I have an interest in. To this day, I buy a magazine almost every time I go to the grocery store.

Cover of AR-15 magazine
I stopped by Kroger at lunch to buy magazines from the “assault weapons” category in support of my brothers and sisters who write for the firearms industry.

As a young, aspiring writer and imaginative storyteller, it was a dream of mine to write for those magazines I loved so much. My young adulthood pulled me in different directions though, and I did not choose a degree in Journalism. Entering college, I wanted to write for TV, so I majored in Radio-Television-Film. In my senior year, I traveled to Los Angeles to see what was up. It didn’t take me but 24 hours to realize …well …screw LA, so I went back to Texas a couple of days earlier than planned with literally no idea what to do next.

What came next was a position in the firearms industry writing online content. It wasn’t magazines and I wasn’t interviewing my favorite rock bands, but it was writing, and I was getting to blow a lot of crap up! Everyone must start somewhere, right?

When I was finally published in my very first glossy magazine, I hightailed it to my local Kroger the day the issue came out. I took pictures of the magazine right there on the shelf, sent it to everyone who cared and posted it on social media. I was beside myself. What a proud moment. I was a writer! I was being paid to write and I was published in a magazine! I mean, how many people actually get to say they really are what they wanted to be when they grew up?

That first freelance gig led to more and I’ve now been published in a variety of gun and gun-related magazines. Thanks to those of you who, like me, still regularly buy, subscribe and read print media, many creatives passionate about firearms and the shooting sports have good, well-paying jobs. When people stop paying for content, companies stop paying for advertising space and magazines fold. Outdoor writers, editors, photographers and graphic designers lose their jobs. Many are forced to join the league of online “gun bloggers,” where anyone can call themselves an expert, competition for clicks is fierce and compensation is low… and the firearms industry takes another hit.

Despite the firearms industry making a huge economic impact on our country—$51,251,443,900 in 2016 to be exact—any reported decline in sales, shares or manufacturing makes the anti-gun crowd chomp at the bit.

Woman reading about AR-15s
Kroger recently announced it would stop selling firearms and ammo to anyone under 21.

“Oh, see! The American people don’t really love and own these awful weapons of assault war, it’s just the EVIL NRA propaganda! So, no one will REALLY care if we ban them!!”

And that’s why it was so disheartening to read Jim Shepherd’s feature in the Wednesday, March 14, 2018, edition of the Outdoor Wire.

You see, Kroger, the United States largest supermarket chain, will no longer sell magazines that fall under what the company considers the “assault weapons” category. Kroger will no longer stock any magazine that mentions MSRs.

You guys, that’s basically EVERY gun magazine in existence!

Shepherd points out that is 57 titles. 57!

From The Outdoor Wire:

The Outdoor Wire has obtained a memorandum telling magazine distributors servicing Kroger stores nationwide that “after much consideration” Kroger has decided to remove the Assault Weapons magazine category from all their retail locations. Distributors for the stores have been given a two-week timeline to accomplish the removal. Specifically, the announcement calls for removal of magazines with assault weapons content, placement of Non-Assault gun titles to the Top Tier of mainline, verify placement of non-assault gun titles are not next to Teen titles or Kids books

Why is this a big deal?

Because Kroger is not only the largest grocery store chain in the country, it is also the second largest retail chain behind Walmart. It operates 2,778 supermarkets, 786 convenience stores, 1,360 gas stations and 2,122 pharmacies—all places where we pick up magazines, especially our impulse purchases. So, for those of you with limited options in your town, how often are you going to drive to the nearest bookseller (if there is one) to pick up an issue of Recoil, Guns & Ammo, World of Firepower and other magazines?

Kroger recently announced it would stop selling firearms and ammo to anyone under 21 in their Fred Meyer stores. They had already stopped selling MSRs years ago

Inside the magazine AR-15
In two weeks, you won’t find content like this on Kroger shelves ever again.

This is not the only time Kroger has come under fire from SJWs and anti-gunners. In 2014, the Michael Bloomberg-backed Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in American started a campaign attempting to get Kroger to stop allowing concealed carry in their stores. Around the same time, people took issue with the way gun magazines were displayed in grocery stores, claiming it was inappropriate for children to see pictures of guns. Both campaigns backfired, and Kroger rightfully decided on following all local gun laws. Kroger stated, “If the local gun laws are to allow open carry, we’ll certainly allow customers to do that based on what the local laws are. We don’t believe it’s up to us to legislate what the local gun control laws should be. It’s up to the local legislators to decide to do that. So, we follow local laws…”

Kroger magazine counter, gun magazines are at the top right.
“Hot Sex Skills” is okay. Guns are not.

And now here we are…

It is legal to sell long guns and ammo to people under 21. AR-15s and other MSRs are completely legal, so why is Kroger going against its word? As a Kroger shopper (my choice in grocery stores is limited,) it pisses me off that they have decided that “assault weapons” are so offensive that they have to pull images of them. Will Kroger also pull the magazines with scantily-clad women on them? Alcohol? Cigarettes? Or the countless other items that so many in this day and age could claim “trigger” them?

Anti-gun politicians and media will continue to vilify the AR-15. These sporting rifles aren’t evil, the hearts of men are evil. Don’t let their agenda get to you. We do need semi-automatic firearms. We do need magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. We need bump stocks, and binary triggers, and the ‘shoulder thing that goes up’. Support our right to own these things, to own any firearm! Support the Second Amendment and support each other.

If you love a certain glossy magazine, go ahead and pay for a subscription. It’s cheaper than buying them monthly, you support our industry, you keep a lot of hard-working people in their jobs, and you show companies like Kroger that gun owners have leverage and buying power. We really can make a difference.

Written by Suzi Shooter.