The request by Target stores interim CEO John Mulligan that customers not openly carry firearms on their premises is not a ban, and many in the gun rights community look at it as being the same position taken by Starbucks several months ago.
Translation, the store has not banned guns, they’ve just asked customers to leave their guns at home. The anti-gun Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America has declared something of a victory in the controversy, but many gun rights activists continue to carry concealed into the chain store outlets, as they do at Starbucks, Chipotle’s and other businesses that have found themselves in the middle of a culture war they want no part of. What ignited the controversy was the appearance of open carry activists in Texas carrying long guns into a Target outlet. Texas law does not allow the open carry of handguns but it does allow openly carried long guns. The Lone Star State activists have used the long gun demonstrations in an attempt to get that law changed.
Even some in the open carry community have been critical of carrying rifles into business establishments as a form of political statement. There is disagreement whether the act of carrying long guns has helped or hurt the overall open carry movement. The Moms group had demanded that Target take action more than a month ago. The organization had an on-line petition that gathered about 400,000 signatures and conducted petition drives at Target outlets while organizing “#OffTarget” weekends as something of a boycott protest. In its statement, Target announced, “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. “We’ve listened carefully to the nuances of this debate and respect the protected rights of everyone involved,” the statement noted. “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.
Reacting to Target’s announcement, Open Carry Texas issued the following statement: “Open Carry Texas regrets Target’s decision to ‘respectfully request that guests not bring firearms to Target’,” the group said. “While this is not a ban on legally possessed firearms in its stores, we will continue to honor our months’ long policy of not taking long arms into Target stores or any other business. Time and time again, businesses that have asked guests not to bring legally possessed, self-defense firearms into their establishments have seen their employees and customers victimized by criminals preying on the openly defenseless. “Open Carry Texas is laser focused on our statewide goals of making Texas the 45th state to recognize the right to openly carry firearms and the 32nd to do so without a licensing requirement. Engaging in the businesses of interfering with or making a scene at private corporations is something to which Open Carry Texas has never lowered itself, a practice we will maintain.”W&G