NEW YORK (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Target is asking its customers to not bring firearms into its stores, even where it is allowed by law.
In a statement posted Wednesday on the retailer's corporate blog, interim CEO John Mulligan said that Target wants a "safe and inviting" atmosphere for its shoppers and employees.
"Bringing firearms to Target creates an environment that is at odds with the family-friendly shopping and work experience we strive to create," he said.
In many states, carrying unconcealed guns in public is legal.
Target Corp. made the announcement as it faced pressure about its policy on the "open carry" of firearms in its stores. Pictures taken in a Mansfield Target store show several members of the group Open Carry Tarrant County walking through the stores with long guns slung over their shoulders. A group called Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America reposted the photos on social media and urged nearly 400,000 people to sign a petition asking Target to prohibit shoppers from carrying guns into its stores.
The group has said it is responsible for getting several chains, including Chipotle, Starbucks and Jack in the Box, to change their gun policies. It introduced the campaign after gun rights groups carrying loaded rifles frequently gathered in Target stores including Texas, Alabama and North Carolina to demonstrate in support of "open carry" laws.
Many states allow people to carry unconcealed guns, but some businesses exercise their right to ban firearms.
"Such positive safety changes made by some of our country's leading retailers are proof of the influence of women and mothers," said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. "As we look toward election season, we hope our legislators are taking notice that when women and mothers collectively raise our voices — and soon cast our votes, we are determined to leave an impact."
Open Carry Texas released the following statement regarding the announcement:
"Open Carry Texas regrets Target's decision to "respectfully request that guests not bring firearms to Target." 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."
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