Target stores ask customers to shop without firearms

Jul 3, 2014

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"Target entrance"

Earlier this week, Target began asking shoppers to leave their guns at home when entering Target stores. The retailer cannot prohibit customers from carrying firearms in most states, and the company has reiterated that this action is not a demand.

Molly Snyder, a member of Target’s public relations team, was quoted by the Los Angeles Times as saying, “This is a request and not a prohibition.”

For most states, no permit is required to openly carry a firearm in public. According to the article, six states—California, New York, Texas, Illinois, Florida, and South Carolina, in addition to the District of Columbia—prohibit citizens from carrying an unconcealed firearm. Fourteen states require a permit to openly carry a firearm, while the other 30 require no permit at all.

Target is one of several chain stores that has recently requested its customers be more strict about their gun handling. Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a grassroots movement that advocates for stronger gun laws, has been openly and actively pressuring large corporations to alter their stance on firearms allowed in stores. While these corporations legally cannot prohibit the carrying of guns in the states where they are allowed, the corporations can make their opinion on firearms known. Starbucks, Chipotle, and Jack in the Box are other big-name companies who have answered Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America’s plea to keep weapons out of public places.

According to Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Chipotle said in a statement, “We are respectfully asking that customers not bring guns into our restaurants, unless they are authorized law enforcement personnel.”

According to the LA Times article, more than 400,000 people signed the petition supporting a gun reduction in Target stores. This campaign came to be after a gun-rights group in Texas posted photos of its members shopping in a Target store just outside of Dallas—members who were openly shopping with loaded rifles on their person.

While Target cannot completely eliminate the presence of firearms in its stores, the company hopes the “respectful request” will discourage many customers from bringing in guns while they shop. The company has not publicly announced what, if anything, will happen when shoppers continue to visit the store armed.

Photo Courtesy of Kevin Dooley and Creative Commons.

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