Target Joins the List of Stores Asking Customers to Keep Guns Out
Looks like Second Amendment advocates' efforts have backfired again.
Target issued a statement on Wednesday to "respectfully request" that customers don't bring their firearms to Target, following a series of demonstrations by gun rights groups.
In recent weeks, Wendy's, Applebees, Jack in the Box, Chipotle, Chili's and Sonic have discouraged customers from carrying firearms in their restaurants following similar demonstrations.
"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," said Target's interim CEO John Mulligan in a statement.
Over the last year, Second Amendment advocates such as Open Carry Texas have encouraged gun owners to bring firearms into public places, as is their legal right. The purpose of these demonstrations is stated as educating others about their rights to openly carry certain firearms and conditioning people to feel safer around guns, as well as supporting less restrictive open carry legislation.
However, efforts to make others feel safer around gun-carrying citizens have led to protests from guns safety advocates, such as Moms Demand Action. Target represents yet another instance in which pushing for firearms rights had the opposite effect, with a new national business asking customers to leave their guns at home.
"Open Carry Texas regrets Target's decision to 'respectfully request that guests not bring firearms to Target.' While this is not a ban on legally possessed firearms in its stores, we will continue to honor our months long policy of not taking long arms into Target stores or any other business," Open Carry Texas said in a statement. Presumably, members will continue to carry handguns into stores.
While businesses have the right to ban guns from premises, even in states that allow individuals to publically carry firearms, few have actually done so. Instead, many stores and restaurants choose to simply discourage customers from bringing guns into their business, hoping to avoid any confrontations between employees and gun carrying customers.
"First, this is a request and not an outright ban," said Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz in an open that has been echoed by many other businesses in the months since it was released in September 2013. "Why? Because we want to give responsible gun owners the chance to respect our request—and also because enforcing a ban would potentially require our partners to confront armed customers, and that is not a role I am comfortable asking Starbucks partners to take on."