Thinking about making a Target run later today? If so, Target would really appreciate it if you left your gun at home.
“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,” interim chief executive John Mulligan wrote on a statement posted on the company’s blog Wednesday. “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.”
Wednesday’s statement reflects a request, not a rule change, Target spokesperson Molly Snyder said in an e-mail. That means nothing will necessarily happen to shoppers who carry firearms into a Target, they’ve just been asked not to.
“This is not a policy change but rather a position,” Snyder wrote. “As this is a request and not a prohibition, at this time we don’t have any plans to proactively communicate with our guests on this topic beyond what we are sharing today.”
Target’s request comes about a month after a loaded gun was reportedly found in the toy aisle of a Target in South Carolina, and follows protests from the gun-rights group Open Carry Texas, whose members had been bringing firearms into stores. (Last month, the group’s president told the Wall Street Journal that they had stopped the practice, saying it was “distracting from our mission.”)
“There has not been a specific incident,” Snyder wrote, when asked what had prompted Wednesday’s request. “As we do every day, on a variety of topics, we listen to the feedback from our guests. That continues today.”
— Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) July 2, 2014
Here’s a video of an Open Carry Texas protest uploaded by the organization Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, which had collected signatures in support of policies that would stop people from carrying firearms in Target stores, according to the Associated Press.
“Moms are thankful that Target responded quickly to the call nearly 400,000 Americans and asked customers to keep their firearms at home,” said the group’s founder, Shannon Watts, said in a statement posted on its site Wednesday. “Moms everywhere were horrified to see images of people carrying loaded assault rifles down the same aisles where we shop for diapers and toys.”
Open Carry Texas posted a statement on its Facebook page, saying it “regrets” Target’s decision.