Target is taking aim at gun-toters. Interim CEO John Mulligan sent Target employees a notice that was later posted publicly on the company's blog. The letter outlined a new gun ban requesting that customers not bring firearms into Target stores, even if it is permitted in their region. (Via Flickr / Jay Reed)
Mulligan writes: "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."
Target has been under pressure from gun control advocates for weeks now.
"A month ago, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America launched a petition to ask Target to prevent customers from carrying guns into the stores." (Via WRC-TV)
The campaign took off on Twitter with the hashtag "BackOnTarget." Following the announcement, Moms Demand Action tweeted: "@MomsDemand Applauds @Target for Asking Customers to Leave Their Guns at Home" and encouraged followers to call Target and thank the retailer for the ban.
As of Wednesday, according to USA Today, the petition had more than 400,000 signatures.
The founder of Moms Demand Action told the Los Angeles Times: "We support the 2nd Amendment, but people walking through the aisles flaunting their loaded weapons is unacceptable. How can we ... know if they are good guys or bad guys?"
Some open-carry activists also voiced their opinions to Target, but for the right to carry guns. The Huffington Post reports protestors carrying guns rallied outside a Target in Texas a few weeks prior to the CEO's decision. (Via Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America)
Protests like this have been staged at other establishments in the past and have been criticized by some gun rights groups. The National Rifle Association issued a statement saying, "To those who are not acquainted with the dubious practice of using public displays of firearms as a means to draw attention to oneself or one's cause, it can be downright scary."
The NRA later apologized to fellow gun activists for the choice of words and maintains its main goal is to advocate for citizens' right to carry.
"But what this is about is ultimately how do we win and change that law down in Texas?" (Via National Rifle Association)
Other businesses including Chipotle, Sonic and Chili's have adopted policies similar to Target's.