Target asks customers not to bring guns into its stores

New York -- Target Corp. on Wednesday requested that customers no longer carry guns in its stores.

The retailer found itself embroiled in controversy when gun-rights activists in Texas and several other states chose Target stores to demonstrate their belief in the right to openly bear arms. In response, the chain came under heavy fire from groups such as "Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense" and others who expressed concern about firearms being carried into an environment where the shoppers are often accompanied by children.

“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,” wrote Target acting CEO John Mulligan in a statement posted on the chain’s website. “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. 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.”

"Moms are thankful that Target responded quickly to the call of nearly 400,000 Americans and asked customers to keep their firearms at home," said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “Like Chipotle, Starbucks, Facebook, Jack in the Box, Sonic, and Chili's, Target recognized that moms are a powerful customer base and political force – and you can respect the Second Amendment and the safety of customers at the same time."

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