Target ‘Respectfully Requests’ Customers Not Bring Their Guns To Its Stores

7/2/14 11:28AM EST

Target Respectfully Requests Customers Not Bring Their Guns To Its Stores Target Respectfully Requests Customers Not Bring Their Guns To Its Stores

Image via Flickr/ Jay Reed

Target announced today a request for its customers not to bring any type of firearms into its stores.

Target’s interim CEO John Mulligan, released a statement on the Target website about the retailer’s new policy, addressing the debate about whether it was appropriate to ask people living in states with an “open carry” policy not to bring their guns while shopping at Target. In order to maintain a “family-friendly” environment, Mulligan says, it’s important that everyone feels safe.

We’ve listened carefully to the nuances of this debate and respect the protected rights of everyone involved,” Mulligan says in the statement. “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. 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.”

The long-awaited decision came following heated pressure from gun-control activist groups like Everytown for Safety, the $50-million organization created by New York City’s former mayor, Michael Bloomberg. Following other ”no gun” policies from other chain retailers and eateries, the group was pushing Target to jump on board. The organization’s website included a petition that would be delivered by fellow gun-control activist group Moms Demand Action, encouraging supporters to pressure Target to make a decision.

Gun extremists armed with semiautomatic rifles have walked into Target locations around the country, weapons out and loaded, making sure customers saw their guns,” Everytown for Safety told supporters. “It’s often legal to do this, because many states have weak laws that allow people to openly carry around loaded weapons without any permits, training or background checks. That means it’s up to companies themselves to protect their customers when the law won’t.”

Target joins retail and restaurant chains like Chipotle, Starbucks, Chili’s, Sonic Drive-In and Jack in the Box in the decision to promote gun control and keep firearms out of their locations.

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