Target became the most recent national chain to reluctantly weigh in on guns in stores, after several pictures of gun rights enthusiasts carrying large weapons inside their outlets began to spread on social media sites.
Target, Starbucks, and Chipotle were all dragged into the national gun debate in recent weeks, as a trend in which gun owners openly brandished weapons inside stores began to rise. A debate ensued as the images circulated on sites like Facebook and Twitter, forcing the chains to intervene and in all cases, definitively prohibit the practice.
Today, Target addressed the open carry issue on their private news site, A Bullseye View. In a statement, the chain explained that the decision was difficult to determine, but that recent events had forced a policy.
“Every day at Target, in everything we do, we ask ourselves what is right for our guests? We make all of our decisions with that question in mind. Questions have circulated in recent weeks around Target’s policy on the ‘open carry’ of firearms in its stores. Today, interim CEO, John Mulligan, shared the following note with our Target team members. We wanted you to hear this update from us, too.”
Target’s statement adds that its higher ups have been “weighing a complex issue, and that Mulligan wants “to be sure everyone understands our thoughts and ultimate decision.”
He continues, noting that the policy was created irrespective of local laws that may permit varying levels of public gun possession:
“As you’ve likely seen in the media, there has been a debate about whether guests in communities that permit ‘open carry’ should be allowed to bring firearms into Target stores. Our approach has always been to follow local laws, and of course, we will continue to do so. But starting today we will also respectfully request that guests not bring firearms to Target – even in communities where it is permitted by law.”
“We’ve listened carefully to the nuances of this debate and respect the protected rights of everyone involved. In return, we are asking for help in fulfilling our goal to create an atmosphere that is safe and inviting for our guests and team members… This is a complicated issue, but it boils down to a simple belief: Bringing firearms to Target creates an environment that is at odds with the family-friendly shopping and work experience we strive to create.”
Shannon Watts, Founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, commented in a press release:
“Moms are thankful that Target responded quickly to the call of nearly 400,000 Americans and asked customers to keep their firearms at home… Moms everywhere were horrified to see images of people carrying loaded assault rifles down the same aisles where we shop for diapers and toys. Like Chipotle, Starbucks, Facebook, Jack in the Box, Sonic, and Chili’s, Target recognized that moms are a powerful customer base and political force – and you can respect the 2nd Amendment and the safety of customers at the same time.”
“Such positive safety changes made by some of our country’s leading retailers are proof of the influence of women and mothers. As we look toward election season, we hope our legislators are taking notice that when woman and mothers collectively raise our voices – and soon cast our votes, we are determined to leave an impact.”
As expected, Target’s new position on guns in stores garnered a mixed reaction, and one commenter on the statement opined:
“Thank you! Going back to spending $500 a month at Target now my family is safe!”
Another expressed concern that the policy decision would only instigate more conflict:
“Nice request but when they show up carrying today, in droves, to protest your decision, what are you going to do? Will you ask them nicely to leave (they won’t) or will you have them removed from your private property?”
Others pledged to carry a gun in Target regardless of the revision:
“This is just to shut up the anti gunners. Going back to Target with my gun today and tomorrow and whatever days I want.”
As the decision Target issued regarding guns in stores circulates, both gun rights activists and gun control proponents are flooding the brand’s Facebook page to make their voices heard.
[Image: Target, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America Facebook]