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Major retailer with 22 Alabama locations ‘respectfully requests’ shoppers don’t pack heat

Members of Open Carry Texas inside a Dallas-Ft. Worth Target Story
Members of Open Carry Texas inside a Dallas-Ft. Worth Target Store

Target, the United States’ third largest “mass merchant” retailer, last week issued a public statement requesting that shoppers no longer bring guns into their stores.

“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,” Target’s interim CEO John Mulligan wrote on the company’s blog. “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.”

The internal debate at Target began after Open Carry Texas, a gun rights group in the Lone Star State, began openly carrying firearms in Target stores as a demonstration of their rights and documenting it on Facebook.

Guns target

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Moms Demand Action, an anti-gun group financed by former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, began pushing for Target to respond by turning its stores into gun free zones.

Surprisingly, The National Rifle Association initially slammed the open carry demonstrations as “foolishness” and “downright weird,” prompting Open Carry Texas to rip into them.

“The NRA has lost its relevance and sided with the gun control extremists and their lapdog media,” the group tweeted. “We don’t fight for rights at the discretion of the NRA.”

The NRA’s top lobbyist, Chris Cox, quickly walked back the NRA’s initial statement, saying it had been put out by an un-named employee sharing his personal beliefs and not those of the organization as a whole.

“The National Rifle Association unapologetically and unflinchingly supports the right of self-defense and what that means is that our members and our supporters have a right to carry a firearm in any place they have a legal right to be,” Cox said. “If that means open carry, we support open carry.”

Target was also quick to point out that they were making a request, not issuing a ban.

“We’ve listened carefully to the nuances of this debate and respect the protected rights of everyone involved. In return, we are asking for help in fulfilling our goal to create an atmosphere that is safe and inviting for our guests and team members,” Target’s interim CEO said. “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 22 locations in Alabama, where open carry is legal without a permit.

Does Targets’ announcement make you more or less likely to shop in their stores? Let us know in the comment section below, or by tweeting @YHPolitics.

(h/t Trussville Tribune)

Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims