Joining the ever-loudening national discourse about gun control, Target became yet another major American company to take a stand against the open carry of firearms in public Wednesday when the retail giant announced its new no-gun policy.
Despite its name and logo being the ubiquitous symbol for where to aim your weapon, the retailer would nonetheless prefer customers keep their hand cannons in the car.
"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," the statement from Target's interim CEO John Mulligan reads, "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."
Mulligan has been serving as interim CEO at Target since Gregg Steinhafel resigned in May over the backlash from cyber-attacks that compromised the credit and debit card information records of millions of Target customers last December.
Target taking a stance on firearms is a direct response to recent clashes between open-carry activists who brought assault rifles into Target stores and Moms Demand Action, a gun reform organization. The media coverage Mulligan is referencing is the response to a photo of open carry activists toting assault rifles through a Target store, the hipster in front of the group wearing a Hope (for bacon) shirt and carrying a package of Oreo's cookies with an M-4 assault rifle slung across his back. The photo went viral when Moms Demand action attached the picture to a petition urging Target to ban firearms.
The petition collected more than 350,000 signatures.
During a time when gun debate has reached a fever pitch in America—with shootings becoming a regular occurrence, some states have pushed for tougher gun control while others, the state of Georgia today for instance, have responded by passing statewide open carry laws—Moms Demand Action has convinced several major companies to adopt similar policies. The group is also responsible for urging Chipoltle, Chili's, and Sonic to ban firearms in their restaurants.
"Target's decision shows that moms calling for reasonable reforms can move giants," said communications director for Everytown for Gun Safety, Erika Soto Lamb.
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