- Associated Press - Thursday, June 5, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A gun-control group is trying to pressure Minneapolis-based retailer Target Corp. into prohibiting customers from carrying guns in its stores, following efforts that prompted Starbucks, Chipotle and other restaurant chains to try to limit the open carry of firearms.

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America has launched a social media campaign seeking to counter gun owners in some states who’ve been shopping and dining with rifles slung over their shoulders to asset their rights to openly carry guns in public.

The group’s founder, Shannon Watts, said rifle-toting shoppers have been spotted at Target stores in Wisconsin, Texas, Alabama, Ohio, North Carolina, Washington, and Virginia.

“It’s time for companies like Target to weigh in and have a policy around guns, just like they do around smoking and proper attire, because, unfortunately, gun extremists believe that when you don’t have a policy in place, it means you support open carry in your stores,” Watts told Minnesota Public Radio (https://bit.ly/UfmG0T ).

Last month, after being pressured by the moms group, Chipotle released a statement that said “the display of firearms in our restaurants has now created an environment that is potentially intimidating or uncomfortable for many of our customers.”

The group has been circulating photos of Second Amendment activists in Target stores with rifles slung over their shoulders. So has been Open Carry Texas, which is trying to persuade the Texas Legislature to allow people to legally carry handguns in the open, as they can with rifles.

“There’s an absurdity in Texas law,” said Tov Henderson, a spokesman for Open Carry Texas. “You may walk around with an AR-15 strapped to your back. But you may not carry a Glock or whatever your choice of handgun is on your hip, because at that point, you’re committing a felony.”

Target said it is sticking by its current policies and won’t institute an overall open-carry ban. Molly Snyder, a Target spokeswoman, told the Star Tribune (https://strib.mn/1oxCllc) the company follows state and federal laws when it comes to open carry laws. She added that Target does not sell firearms or ammunition.

“At Target, the safety and security of our guests and team members is our highest priority,” she wrote in an email.

The National Rifle Association on Tuesday backed off an earlier statement criticizing open carry rallies in Texas. The statement had appeared on the website of NRA’s group’s lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action, saying that the demonstrations were “downright weird,” counterproductive, scary and inconsiderate.

Chris Cox, executive director of the institute, said the statement was “a mistake” and that it was written by a staffer who was expressing his personal opinion.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide