Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America launched a national petition today calling on interim Target Corp. CEO John Mulligan to prohibit the open carry of guns in its stores in response to demonstrations organized by a gun extremist group that brought gunmen with loaded assault weapons into stores (photos here). The petition to Target, which can be found here, comes on the heels of similar demonstrations at Chipotle, Sonic, Chili’s and Jack in the Box that led these companies to take swift action to stand with Moms and enforce or adopt policies that prohibit open carry to protect the safety of their employees and customers.
“Target is a central part of the lives of American moms – we expect to be safe and secure when we wheel our kids around in the store’s red shopping carts,” said Shannon Watts, Founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “And we support the Second Amendment but people walking through the aisles flaunting their loaded weapons – as these extremist gun groups have been doing – is unacceptable. How can we, or the store’s employees or law enforcement, possibly know if they are good guys or bad guys? Allowing this to continue would be off-target. That’s why we’re asking one of our country’s largest retailers, a store that American moms flock to, to follow the lead of Chipotle and Starbucks and make a clear statement that open carry of firearms is not welcome in their stores.”
Gun extremists have been demonstrating at Target stores to promote their agenda of intimidation in Texas, Alabama, Ohio, North Carolina, Washington, Wisconsin, and Virginia. Despite ongoing demonstrations, Target has still not instituted policies prohibiting open carry. Yet according to Target, mothers and women are an important part of the company’s customer base – 80 to 90 percent of Target’s customers are female and 38 percent of guests have children, a share the company says is higher than other discount stores.
In states where no background checks or training are required to buy semi-automatic rifles and carry them openly in public, businesses have a duty to protect their employees and patrons. Texas law – and the laws in a majority of states – allows people to openly carry loaded rifles in public with absolutely no training, permitting, or minimum age requirement. Combined with estimates that 40 percent of gun sales occur without a background check in the U.S., this means that people in most states can legally carry loaded rifles in public without ever having passed a criminal background check.
Just last week, Sonic and Brinker International, which includes Chili’s Grill & Bar, released statements prohibiting the open carry of guns in their restaurants. The week before Chipotle quickly responded to a Moms’ petition by asking customers to leave their guns at home, “because the display of firearms in our restaurants has now created an environment that is potentially intimidating or uncomfortable for many of our customers.” Last month Jack in the Box responded to the Moms’ petition by announcing that it would enforce a prohibition of guns in its stores, stating that, “the presence of guns inside a restaurant could create an uncomfortable situation for our guests and employees and lead to unintended consequences.”
Moms Demand Action previously launched petitions that garnered hundreds of thousands of signatures asking Starbucks, Facebook, and Instagram to reform the companies’ gun policies to make customers and communities safer. Starbucks announced that guns are no longer welcome in its stores as a result of the campaign. Facebook and Instagram also announced changes to block illegal gun sales after 230,000 Americans signed a Moms Demand Action petition asking for stronger protections against illegal gun sales on the two social media platforms.