In a message posted to its website, the company's interim CEO, John Mulligan, claims that while Target has and will remain deferential to local laws, the company "will also respectfully request that guests not bring firearms to Target – even in communities where it is permitted by law."
Mulligan goes on to write that his company has "listened carefully to the nuances of this debate and respect the protected rights of everyone involved." In exchange for their attentiveness and sensitivity, Mulligan writes, Target is "asking for help in fulfilling our goal to create an atmosphere that is safe and inviting for our guests and team members."
In closing, Mulligan acknowledges that the open-carry issue is "complicated," but still declares that Target's leadership has decided that "[b]ringing firearms to Target creates an environment that is at odds with the family-friendly shopping and work experience we strive to create."
The gun-safety group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America praised Target for issuing the request. "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 the group's founder, Shannon Watts, in a statement.
"Moms everywhere were horrified to see images of people carrying loaded assault rifles down the same aisles where we shop for diapers and toys," she added.
Needless to say, open carry advocates are considerably less pleased with Target's latest move.