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Target Stores In Crosshairs Of Gun Rights Fight

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) —Target is caught up in a debate between Second Amendment activists and a group of angry moms.

In stores across the country, open carry supporters have been seen with their long guns and assault rifles in plain view. It's legal to do in 40 states, and in some (like Minnesota), you need a permit.

But the group that persuaded Chipotle and Starbucks to implement an open carry ban now has a bull's-eye on Target to do the same.

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America has even started an online petition asking the Target interim CEO to create a policy.

Customers are sounding off on social media. Using the hashtag #OffTarget, they're threatening to boycott if it does not implement a ban.

One woman even tweeted that she cut up her Target card.

"I won't shop at any store that allows it, no matter who it is," said Cynthia Wright, a mom.

Target issued only a limited statement.

Spokesperson Molly Snyder wrote: "The safety and security of our guests and team members is our highest priority. Target does not sell firearms or ammunition and [...] we follow all state and federal laws."

But business analysts say it's only a matter of time before public pressure forces the retailer to take a stand and implement a ban.

"They're probably going to institute some sort of policy," said David Vang, a University of St. Thomas finance professor. "Even though millions of people own guns, probably a bigger percentage of customers are probably going to be more concerned about seeing a gun in public."

The group Open Carry Texas is behind many of the guns-in-stores demonstrations. On Thursday, they asked members to leave their guns at home and instead carry brightly colored plastic guns or empty holsters.

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