Gun-control advocates flocked to the side of Target today after the retail chain asked gun-permit holders to not pack heat inside the store.
“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,” interim Target CEO John Mulligan said in a statement today.
“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,” Mulligan continued.
“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.”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) responded by running down to Target to buy a couple bags of candy.
“Today, I shopped at Target because it’s doing the right thing on guns,” Blumenthal said. “Target knows that allowing customers to carry guns in its stores is not consistent with providing parents and their children with a safe and secure place to shop. I applaud Target’s decision to change its gun policy – a decision that reflects growing public support for gun safety across the country. Customers are no safer when they carry guns into Target, or any other store or restaurant.”
The group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America began putting pressure on Target to keep guns out of its stores after open-carry advocates posted pictures online of shoppers with their guns.
“I am pleased that Target has announced its commitment to prioritize customer safety by asking guests not to bring firearms into Target stores,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said in a statement. “As noted in a letter to Target’s CEO last month after a loaded gun was found in the toy aisle of a South Carolina Target store, when policies are not in place to prohibit firearms in stores, everyone is at risk. Today’s announcement demonstrates a strong sense of responsibility by Target’s management, and follows the customer-friendly approach other companies, such as Starbucks and Chipotle, have taken to prohibit firearms in their establishments.”
“The fight against gun violence in our communities isn’t something any one person or organization can take on alone. I applaud Target for the implementation of this policy, and encourage other retailers to follow their example,” Murphy continued. “I also want to recognize the advocates, consumers, and everyday citizens who pushed Target to ban guns in its stores. These advocates are working tirelessly to encourage Congress and private organizations to take a stand against gun violence, and I’m proud to stand with them every step of the way.”
Blumenthal and Murphy have failed to advance stricter gun-control laws in the Senate after the Sandy Hook shooting in their home state.