Nebraska Furniture Mart’s decision to arm its store security staff with handguns is a leap into uncharted territory, retail experts said Thursday.
While other retailers have been taking “baby steps” to beef up security, “they are not taking leaps and bounds like that,” said Corrie Tallman, project coordinator at the Loss Prevention Research Council.
“I work with several sporting goods retailers that sell guns and ammunition — high-risk merchandise — and I have not heard of any of them doing that,” Tallman said.
The Gainesville, Fla.-based council partners with more than 40 major U.S. retailers, including Dick’s Sporting Goods, Cabela’s, Rite-Aid, CVS Pharmacy, Walmart, Sears and Best Buy, to enhance store security and mitigate retail losses.
“I’ve been in lots of conversations with retailers, but I’ve never heard of something like this,” Tallman said. “That’s such a large liability.”
In less than two months, security guards armed with handguns will patrol Nebraska Furniture Mart’s stores in Omaha, Kansas City, Des Moines and, beginning in 2015, a new Dallas-Fort Worth store.