Moms notch another victory, Target asks customers to leave guns at home

John J. Mulligan,  is chief financial officer and executive vice president for Target, the second largest general merchandise retailer in the U.S. In May 2014, Mulligan was named Interim President and Chief Executive Officer. (Photo: Target)

John J. Mulligan is chief financial officer and executive vice president for Target, the second largest general merchandise retailer in the U.S. Mulligan was named Interim President and Chief Executive Officer in May of 2014. (Photo: Target)

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America scored yet another victory in the battle over whether law-abiding citizens have permission to openly carry in department stores, fast-food chains and restaurants when retail giant Target announced on Wednesday that it would kindly ask gun owners to leave their firearms at home.

“As you’ve likely seen in the media, there has been a debate about whether guests in communities that permit ‘open carry’ should be allowed to bring firearms into Target stores. Our approach has always been to follow local laws, and of course, we will continue to do so,” said John Mulligan, Target’s acting CEO, in a statement.

“But starting today we will also respectfully request that guests not bring firearms to Target – even in communities where it is permitted by law,” he continued.

Aside from starting an online petition that included photos of open carry demonstrators in Target toting their long guns, Moms capitalized off of news last month that a loaded firearm was found in the toy aisle of a store location in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to pressure Mulligan to change Target’s permissive policy with respect to open carry.

Apparently, that effort was enough to move the needle.

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

“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.”

Delighted by the news, Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action, released a statement praising both the retailer and the activists who helped sway Target to go from gun-friendly to gun-free.

“Moms are thankful that Target responded quickly to the call of nearly 400,000 Americans and asked customers to keep their firearms at home,” began Watts. “Moms everywhere were horrified to see images of people carrying loaded assault rifles down the same aisles where we shop for diapers and toys. Like Chipotle, Starbucks, Facebook, Jack in the Box, Sonic, and Chili’s, Target recognized that moms are a powerful customer base and political force – and you can respect the 2nd Amendment and the safety of customers at the same time.”

“Such positive safety changes made by some of our country’s leading retailers are proof of the influence of women and mothers,” continued Watts. “As we look toward election season, we hope our legislators are taking notice that when woman and mothers collectively raise our voices – and soon cast our votes, we are determined to leave an impact.”

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 30 comments… add one }
  • C.M. Klasek June 17, 2017, 3:53 pm

    Starbucks was easy to leave behind, Sonic can do nothing about people who carry in their drive-ins, but Target goes WELL beyond disappointing in caving to the Moms Against Legal Protection (as I prefer to call them) Neanderthals. Seriously, you gonna ban pipes, sticks and stones next? OH, and what about the box cutters the employees must use? Are they trained, certified and licensed to use these lethal tools in everyday operations? What happens when a palleted box breaks loose, what will they do then? ANARCHY!

    Seriously, these people need to go FAR, far away to some isolated island where they can blow to their hearts’ content so only they and their ilk need suffer their MISANTHROPIC, HOPLOPHOBIC rants!

    IS THIS WHY I BECAME A THIRD-GENERATION MILITARY PERSON? I don’t think so. Yes, to defend life, Liberty and freedom of speech (even of such obvious HATE SPEECH)? That only goes up to a point – that point being where you seek to deny the rights, liberties and privileges I served to protect everyone in a psycopathic attack on my own rights . Oh wait…THEY’RE EVERYONE’S RIGHTS (unless you’re a criminal)! Then I deserve the right to fight back — against the paranoiac and fear-mongering hoplophobes in our society who seek to make sheeple of us all in the name of THEIR narrow interpretations and uber-irrational fear mongering.

    I should seek to make MYSELF into ever BIT as big of a know-it-all PITA as THEY desire being —- why can’t I ask for anti-anti-gun legislation? Why can’t I picket establishments which kowtow to irrational fear and hate-mongering? Why can’t I b*tch about being discriminated against and profiled without being lumped into the same category with THESE crackpots? Is there a legal basis where I could sue these “citizens” (or is that COMRADES?) for things like defamation and so forth?

    Better start putting armed security personnel at the doors and aisles, & don’t forget the rather lengthy written notices on each and every entryway, along with personnel to do electronic and physical inspection of each and every potential customer. That’s what it would take to ensure security in an insecure world anymore….so am I to infer that Target will now initiate searches or unconstitutional interrogations to enforce their “friendly policy”? I would not only refuse to patronize that, but ALL associated stores , and spend EVERY one of the days I have left on this Earth PICKETING their stores. (As I’m a Disabled Veteran with numerous heath issues, I might only have something between 5-30 years left, you know!)

    The sad thing is, these paranoiacs are foisting their irrationalities and idiocies upon all of us…and I’m willing to bet there are JUST AS MANY (or more) who believe as I do, whatever your political persuasion may be. This is about RIGHTS, people, the ones that are only supposed to be denied us if we ABUSE them, NOT LAWFULLY EXERCISE THEM! Target (and anyone else listening), remember the story about The Sword of Damocles. It, like the pendulum of a clock and the scales of Justice, SWING BOTH WAYS. Those who seek to deny us our rights are not necessarily politicians. Sometimes, their misinformed, mistakenly informed and tragically misguided Moms …and maybe dads.

  • benjy 58 June 16, 2017, 8:36 am

    And it’s no
    wonder that they are on the verge of bankruptcy

  • Ross February 10, 2017, 2:16 pm

    Even in “open carry” states I believe it is best NOT to do it. I have a cc permit and live in an open carry state BUT I would never open carry. When some people see a gun they get nervous and worried. I don’t like to feel like that so “do unto others”.
    But I do conceal carry and no one knows….not even those with “no guns allowed” signs.

  • gary August 27, 2016, 6:40 pm

    Its a REQUEST people, not a ban. They are disallowing a concealed weapon. They made a feel good for the idiot moms.

  • Dwight Scholl August 26, 2016, 1:42 pm

    I live in small town USA, so don’t have a lot of shopping choices to begin with. I quit going to Target long ago, nothing there I needed. My wife quit when Target decided to enter the bathroom debacle.

  • Call me snake August 26, 2016, 11:15 am

    Hmm, am I the only one who upon hearing about the handgun being found in the “toy aisle” thought about the possibility of it being a “plant” by the anti-gun side to promote their position? I just have some difficulty seeing anyone dropping a weapon in plain sight that they supposedly wanted to ditch. Now if it were found hidden behind stock on an shelf 4 to 5 feet up, I could understand. It just does not seem logical to dispose of a weapon as it was found.

  • ThinkaboutIt July 22, 2014, 9:26 am

    This decision appears to be monetarily motivated instead of using common sense. With the black eye they received due to them getting hacked I am guessing another black eye would have been a bad career move for management – not logical mind you but a “keep his job” decision.

  • c m brown July 16, 2014, 7:29 am

    This is just another reason not to shop target because they also refuse to let The UNITED STSTES MARINE CORPS Toys For Tots Campaign set up at their crappy stores along with selling junk.

  • dink winkerson July 11, 2014, 10:13 am

    And within 3 days of the presentation of their policy, 2 roberys in Atlanta. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence.

  • James July 9, 2014, 2:11 pm

    School acrossed the US are begining to put guns in schools because of nutjobs.Bet the nuts can get into target alot easier, then what are those women gonna do? Make the nut stop with a petition or a cell phone,mabe send out a strongly worded tweet….

  • AK July 8, 2014, 9:53 pm

    Let’s see…Target is a for-profit company, OK? When they weigh the profit potential of multitudes of soccer moms against that of the microcosm of us gunowners who, for whatever reason, feel the need to engage in “looka-me, I’m making a statement” display behavior with a loaded EBR and webgear ..who d’ya think’s gonna win that one?

    I am from New Jersey originally. At one time, that cesspit’s gun laws were seen as a model for the rest of the country. Took 40 years to turn that around, to get some respect for 2A and the gun culture, and now a few clowns who have no cultural awareness and just want to get in someones face with their $300 AK are going to do their best to ruin it for the rest of us.

    Don’t expect me and a lot of us to support your issues. Wouldn’t surprise me to find out some of you are gun-hating liberals wanting to turn the tide of public opinion with these antics. I’ll continue to buy Starbucks and shop at Target..while carrying concealed…

  • jib quinn July 8, 2014, 3:13 pm

    Too bad. I liked shopping there.

  • Tony Douglas July 8, 2014, 11:06 am

    My family & I have been Target customers for a long time, but I will no longer shop at any Target store or order anything online from them again as long as they take this position. As a carry permit holder in TN, which is the only way one can legally open carry a loaded firearm here, I always carry concealed because I have enough sense to know that most people freak out over someone displaying a firearm in public. Our 2nd Amendment rights are constantly being attacked and challenged by the anti-gun community and doing stupid acts of rebellion such as carrying long guns in shopping centers and retail stores only adds fuel to their fire and strengthens their resolve. Save showing off your favorite rifle, shotgun or pistol at the range where like-minded people will appreciate it. Looks like Walmart will be picking up quite a bit more of my business!

  • BILL ROMERO July 8, 2014, 3:34 am

    Gun free zones tell criminals it is safe to rob. Fort Hood is a gun free City, how well did that work our.

  • POedgunowner July 7, 2014, 9:00 pm

    Granted there are communities that allow open carry of rifles and shotguns in stores and restaurants, but to do so is inviting censure by people that are not gun owners, but would probably never get involved in concealed carry debate. If you are legally qualified to carry a long gun, you are most likely able to get a concealed carry permit. Openly carrying a rifle or shotgun into a public place is like taking a can of gasoline to a fire with the intention of using it to put out the fire. Also, if there is a person in that store that has the intention of killing numerous people, anyone openly carrying a long gun will in all probability be the first one shot. I will guarantee you that if you are carrying a rifle slung on your back, I can kill you 100 times out of 100 before you are able to clear your weapon if I am carrying a concealed handgun. Let’s be adult about the way we go about maintaining our rights to keep and bear arms.

  • MikeL July 7, 2014, 6:31 pm

    Based on comments by the Target CEO when the announcement was made, the policy change was at least partially due to open carry advocates making some customers nervous by strolling around the stores with their rifles and handguns.

    The open carry advocates are within their rights to do so wherever it’s legal but other than attracting attention to themselves and making themselves a likely target if there are any bad guys around I fail to see the point.

  • Art July 7, 2014, 4:13 pm

    Target made their “Impact” on me and I will stay out of their stores. Nothing more to say for them. I don’t generally carry open but if I want to that is what I will do.

  • BRASS July 7, 2014, 1:20 pm

    I never patronized Target anyway but for other reasons such as they don’t allow the Marine Corps Toys for Tots Program nor the Salvation Army to solicit toys or donations at their locations. This would be one more. I support their right to ask customers not to bring guns into their stores, no problem. I also support my right to not shop there.
    The Wal-Mart store in Morehead City, North Carolina posted no gun signs on their doors in the early 90’s. At the time their sporting goods section was the second highest grossing Wal-Mart sporting goods section on the entire East Coast and that section by far the highest grossing section in the store. A group of us asked to speak with the store manager quietly and privately at which we informed him that as long as those signs were up we would not patronize the store nor would our wives. When he realize the financial impact of that decision and the resultant impact on store revenues and employee bonuses including his, the signs quietly came down. At any given time it was safe to assume that 50% of the male customers in the sporting goods section were carrying concealed and we were buying bait, tackle, guns, ammo, GPS and fish finders, boat wheels and tires and thousands of related items daily. In this case quiet communication was more effective than public threats and email campaigns to Wal-Mart headquarters.

    • Michael E. Hensley July 7, 2014, 2:12 pm

      Same signs were placed in Virginia some time ago and like your area they also came down.
      Target is only concerned with Open carry, From my conversations they have no problem with CCW

  • John July 7, 2014, 12:54 pm

    The issue isn’t concealed carry but open carry and what brought this on is idiots that want to open carry AK47’s and AR15’s into Target and Walmart and other stores. I own both of these and I love shooting them. I would not go into a store where I know it would do no good but convince other people that gun owners are either nuts or trying to intimidate anti gun owners. I know we have the right to do this, at least in my state and I know some of you feel we should exercise this right but all this does is gain votes for the anti gun crowd and lose us more areas to carry openly our pistols. These rifle toting extremists are taking things too far and hurting our cause. If you really want to change things work with GOA or NRA’s caucus to lobby your legislature. Don’t go out in public with your MSR which to many of the non gun owning public induces fear. The media has led many of the sheep to believe that an AK47 means that a madman is coming to shoot up a store and kill everyone, we know that is crazy but a lot of other people fear them. Bringing one into a Target to prove a point is dumb and hurts our cause! Grow up wanna be Rambo’s.

  • Michael E. Hensley July 7, 2014, 12:36 pm

    I talk to Target Corp. Last week when the story broke and they said it was a Request Only. I feel the open carry thing is what got the Idiot Mom’s in a wad so I will continue to CCW the weapon in Target until such time as a sign appears on the door then I shall give up the RED card and shop elsewhere

  • Ron July 7, 2014, 11:10 am

    The way to exert pressure on for-profit companies is exactly what MOMS did; write e-mails, letters, texts, and postings to social media sites stating that we will boycott the stores that ban guns on their premises. We cannot simply stop shopping at the stores, we must let them know publicly that we will hold them accountable for their policies. If enough people do this publicly, the company will change the policy.

    Since Target is a publicly held company with shareholders; we must also exert influence by buying some number of shares and bringing this policy up for voting at the shareholders meeting and within the board of directors meetings. Anti-gun organizations do not hesitate to use these same tactics because they are very effective. We, as gun owners, must use these same means to make our positions clear and we must actually follow through. Target is not the only retail outlet. Wal-Mart sells much the same merchandise at comparable, or lower prices and they do have a gun-friendly retail environment.

    Just stating that we, as gun owners, are disgruntled at the gun ban policy is not the way to cause a for-profit company to change. I believe that the NRA should coordinate this effort but GunsAmerica and other companies have their roles to play also.

  • Jim T July 7, 2014, 11:09 am

    I wonder if target realizes that there are over 10 million concealed carry license holders in this country? That is a lot of potential customers that they just lost. I am a concealed carry licensee and as long as I am restricted from carrying my LC9 in their store I will do my shopping elsewhere, maybe Walmart as they have no such restriction.

    Also, I wonder if target realizes that they just told every criminal in the nation that they are fair game to be robbed because no-one in the store will be armed so there will be no opposition to a robbery of the store, their customers, or even a psycho path just shooting up the place, which we are seeing more of these days and is also the reason there are over 10 million legally armed citizens now.
    Target you can listen to these people, like the “moms” organization, that has no idea what they are doing, and lose 10 million customers, or you can continue down the path you are on and bankrupt your business because it is inevitable that something is going to happen, such as a customer murdered in a robbery, or shooting in your store, that may have been prevented by a legally armed customer and you are going to be in the middle of a huge lawsuit.

  • Ken Jackson July 7, 2014, 9:19 am

    Thanks again to all the open-carry bozos that need attention so badly. From most of their photos, they look like they should be getting counselling, and quickly. Thanks again, idiots!

    • John L July 7, 2014, 1:39 pm

      While I won’t call them idiots, I do agree that what they do seems counterproductive. I am guessing these folks are protesting the fact that open carry of handguns is illegal in some repressive states like Texas/ Illinois/ New York etc. So they are trying to shock the legislatures into action. That said, I do agree that giving an excuse to Target to make this sweeping change does harm to the gun friendly states.

  • Dan Testa July 7, 2014, 8:52 am

    I just won’t go to Target, I don’t want to be trapped in a gun free zone in Philly!

  • Joe McHugh July 7, 2014, 7:43 am

    Give me a break! “Moms everywhere were horrified to see images of people carrying loaded assault rifles down the same aisles where we shop for diapers and toys.” Shannon Watts of Moms Demand Action
    How did the over active imagination of Ms. Watts create a “loaded assault rifle image” out of a pistol discarded by a criminal who obviously didn’t want to be caught carrying a firearm.

    Does Ms Watts also become hysterical when she sees a uniformed police officer carrying a firearm down a Target aisle?
    Probably not because people like her perceive the police as “good”, while she regards the competent, law-abiding adult American citizen as not being trustworthy enough to enforce his or her Second Amendment right to bear arms.

    Well, I don’t trust Ms. Watts with her First Amendment right to shoot her mouth off about how horrifying people like me are when we have the nerve to bear arms. She and the people like her think nothing about calling for the abuse of the rights of law-abiding citizens because she is terrified of ,……….what? A firearm in the possession of a competent, law-abiding adult citizen is no more a threat to her than the one being carried by that police officer.

    What is really bothering Ms. Watts is her absolute lack of faith in her fellow American citizens. One wonders how Ms. Watts would react to a real threat such as a crazy walking down the aisle and shooting everybody in the head. Call me crazy but I’m almost sure that Ms. Watts would wish that anybody, even an average citizen would come to her rescue with his or her concealed pistol. I’m pretty sure that she wouldn’t be worried about injury to innocent bystanders if she were trapped and the crazy was approaching her. That’s a situation that would really “horrify” Ms. Shannon Watts.

    What Ms. Watts doesn’t realize is that most American citizens are trustworthy and when they are carrying lethal force such as a firearm, they are no more a threat to her than a box of “diapers”.

    • Bill Anderson July 8, 2014, 9:43 am

      Great comments Joe and good to read

  • JiminGA July 7, 2014, 6:43 am

    If my legal sidearm is not welcome in Target stores, then neither am I. And I’m happy to comply by shopping elsewhere.

  • Kevin A July 7, 2014, 6:36 am

    Target can ask me to keep my firearm at home anytime they want but since they do not provide me security, I will let my Glock 45ACP do the work for me.

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