A man carries a gun on his hip while shopping at a Target store in Texas. The photo was posted on a gun rights activism Facebook page in March.
From now on, when shopping at Target, please leave your firearm behind.
Target Corp. issued a statement Wednesday reversing a company policy that had allowed shoppers to carry firearms in stores where permitted by local laws. John Mulligan, the company's interim CEO, said allowing guns violated the retailer's aim to provide a family-friendly shopping and work environment.
"Our approach has always been to follow local laws, and of course, we will continue to do so," Mulligan said in a note to employees posted on the company’s website. "Starting today, we will also respectfully request that guests not bring firearms to Target — even in communities where it is permitted by law."
The company’s policy change is a victory for gun-control groups including Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America that advocated Target prohibit customers from carrying firearms. Target had allowed shoppers to carry guns in states such as Texas and Georgia, where local laws allow residents to openly carry firearms.
Target joins Chipotle, Starbucks, Jack in the Box, Sonic and Chili’s in prohibiting customers from carrying guns.Target joins Chipotle, Starbucks, Jack in the Box, Sonic and Chili’s in prohibiting customers from carrying guns.
“Moms everywhere were horrified to see images of people carrying loaded assault rifles down the same aisles where we shop for diapers and toys,” Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, said in a statement.
Target's statement comes a day after Georgia's "Guns Everywhere" bill took effect in that state. Georgians who have a license to carry guns can now take them to nightclubs, school classrooms, bars and some houses of worship.
Allison Anderman, staff attorney for the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, says that all 50 states have concealed carry laws that let citizens carry firearms into public places. However, every state also lets owners of stores and other private property ban concealed weapons from their premises. Some states do not let such owners ban the use of firearms in their parking lots, though.
Open Carry Texas, a group advocating to expand the state’s laws to permit residents to carry handguns, said in a statement on its website that its members will honor Target’s policy and not bring guns into its stores. The group also warned that by banning guns, retailers are more vulnerable to criminals.
“Time and time again, businesses that have asked guests not to bring legally possessed, self defense firearms into their establishments have seen their employees and customers victimized by criminals preying on the openly defenseless,’’ Open Carry Texas stated on its website.
The National Rifle Association didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment.
Additional reporting by The Associated Press
Tags: BUSINESS, GUN SAFETY, GUNS, TARGET, U.S.