In late May, two national restaurant chains – Chili’s and Sonic – issued coordinated press statements, letting the public know that customers should no longer bring loaded firearms into their establishments. Chipotle had made a similar move earlier in the month.
Today, a major retailer joined the club.
Another major American business chain bites the … gunpowder. Target management on Wednesday changed its firearms policy to prevent armed customers from entering the retail store’s locations.Beginning Wednesday, employees will “respectfully request that guests not bring firearms to Target – even in communities where it is permitted by law,” John Mulligan, interim chief executive officer of Target, said in a statement.
As my msnbc colleague Michele Richinick explained, Target joins Costco, Toys “R” Us, Babies “R” Us, Whole Foods Market, and IKEA on the no-firearms policy.
That said, a recent incident in a Target made today’s announcement that much more significant.
Abigail Bessler noted, “Last month, a loaded gun was found in the toy aisle of a Target in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, sitting on top of a superhero Playskool toy box. The story received a lot of attention, especially because just days earlier so-called ‘open-carry gun activists’ took their rifles to a Target store in Dallas and took pictures in the baby aisle.”
For those unfamiliar with “open-carry” enthusiasts, there’s a group of Americans who’ve made a spectacle of bringing assault rifles into various public establishments – not to rob them or scare ransom consumers, but because some states, most notably Texas, have laws that allow such activities.
The point, in other words, is for these gun activists to take advantage of open-carry laws simply because they can.
The National Rifle Association described such antics as “weird” and needlessly “scary” to the public at large. The far-right group apologized soon after.
Update: Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America was directly involved with pressuring Target to make this decision and applauded the developments.
“Moms are thankful that Target responded quickly to the call nearly 400,000 Americans and asked customers to keep their firearms at home,” said Shannon Watts, Founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “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.”