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Target "respectfully requests" customers not bring guns
NEW YORK - Bruce Kennedy/CBS
A major retailer has launched the latest volley in the ongoing debate over firearms in the U.S., and the so-called open "carry laws" that have made headlines in some states.
KFDM reporter Haley Bull will have reaction from a gun rights supporter and others in a live report on KFDM News at 6.
On Wednesday, the Target (TGT) chain of stores weighed in on the controversy. In a statement on its website, interim CEO John Mulligan said the company will now "respectfully request that guests not bring firearms to Target -- even in communities where it is permitted by law."
"This is a complicated issue," the statement continues, "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."
About 40 states have some form of open-carry law. And in recent months, supporters of those laws have staged high-profile demonstrations in Texas -- entering restaurant chains such as Chili's and retail stores like Walmart.
But there has been a backlash against such demonstrations. The National Rifle Association originally criticized the open carry demonstrations, saying that "using guns merely to draw attention to yourself in public not only defies common sense, it shows a lack of consideration and manners." It later retracted that criticism.
And last month, the national group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense started a petition -- decrying that "gun extremists armed with semiautomatic rifles have walked into Target locations around the country, weapons out and loaded, making sure customers saw their guns" -- and demanding the company act.
On Wednesday, the group issued a statement -- saying it was thankful Target responded quickly to the petition.
"Moms everywhere were horrified to see images of people carrying loaded assault rifles down the same aisles where we shop for diapers and toys," said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense.
"Like Chipotle, Starbucks, Facebook, Jack in the Box, Sonic, and Chili's, Target recognized that moms are a powerful customer base and political force,' she continued, "and you can respect the 2nd Amendment and the safety of customers at the same time."
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.
The leadership team has been weighing a complex issue, and I want to be sure everyone understands our thoughts and ultimate decision.
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.