American retail giant Target announced on Wednesday that it will now “respectfully” ask its customers to not bring guns into its stores — even in states where it is legal to do so.
“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,” the company’s CEO, John Mulligan, said in a statement.
Gun control activists, including former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s $50-million group, have been pressuring Target over its policies in recent days.
“Gun extremists armed with semiautomatic rifles have walked into Target locations around the country, weapons out and loaded, making sure customers saw their guns,” Bloomberg’s group, Everytown for Gun Safety, told supporters Tuesday. “Chipotle, Starbucks, Chilli’s, Sonic Drive-In, and Jack in the Box have already responded to petitions from mums and other gun sense supporters asking the stores not to allow guns. Now it’s up to Target to protect families who shop in its stores.”
Target nevertheless appeared be wary of potential blowback from gun rights activists and cautiously acknowledged the heated nature of the issue.
“We’ve listened carefully to the nuances of this debate and respect the protected rights of everyone involved,” 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.”
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