A suburban Maryland police chief in uniform was asked to lock his service weapon in his car or leave a College Park IKEA store.
Takoma Park Police Chief Alan Goldberg told NBCWashington that in his 35-year law enforcement career he’s never had a store ask him to leave his gun behind. The furniture chain says the employee was mistaken in his interpretation of the policy.
A security guard at the store, where Goldberg was shopping with his daughter on July 4, asked him to leave his gun in his car because company policy prohibits firearms in stores.
"He says we have a no firearms policy, and you're either going to have to leave or you can lock your gun in the car," Goldberg told the NBC station.
A sign posted on the front door of the store says: "Weapons Free Environment."
Gun-rights activists have focused on different retailers as they have announced policies restricting the “open carry” of guns in stores. Businessweek reports that Chipotle and Starbucks have been targets of scrutiny after the chains decided they would not allow guns in their locations.
Just last week, Minneapolis-based Target, which does not sell guns or ammunition, posted a blog that says “we respectfully request that guests not bring firearms to Target – even in communities where it is permitted by law.”
The Takoma Park police chief said the security guard’s demand made no sense.
"It isn't the most prudent thing to do to walk around the store in uniform with an empty holster," Goldberg told the TV station. "And I am not going to lock my gun in a commercial parking lot, with people watching me put it in there. That's just ludicrous."
IKEA said in a statement that the no-gun policy for its stores doesn’t apply to police officers.
The chain's statement said: “We regret that there was a misunderstanding of our weapon policy in our College Park Store. Our weapon policy does not apply to law enforcement officers. We are taking steps to ensure that this is clear for all our co-workers.”