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Several retail chains ask customers not to carry guns openly

Several of the country's most ubiquitous retail chains said this week that they would ask customers to refrain from carrying guns in their stores. The requests, days after Walmart announced a similar policy, marked a remarkable shift in the debate over the presence of weapons in everyday life in the United States.

In a brief statement on Thursday, CVS Health asked that customers other than authorized law enforcement personnel not bring firearms into their 9,900 stores. Walgreens, with 9,500 stores, did as well. Both chains noted that they went with other dealers. Wegmans, a supermarket chain with 99 stores mainly in the Northeast, noted the request on Twitter.

"The sight of someone with a gun can be alarming, and we don't want anyone to feel it on Wegmans," the tweet said .

As private entities, dealers have the right to restrict guns in their stores. But it remained unclear how they could force customers to comply, and the guidelines were framed as requests, not direct bans. Several other major chains have adopted similar formulated policies in recent years, including Starbucks, Target, Costco and Chipotle.

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