Responding to new reports that a loaded gun was found in the toy aisle of a Target in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America is today reiterating its call on Target Corp. CEO John Mulligan to prohibit the open carry of guns in its stores. Yesterday Moms Demand Action launched a petition to Target that has already been signed by 25,000 Americans who support the prohibition of open carry in response to a gun extremist group that held demonstrations with loaded assault weapons in Target stores (photos here). The petition to Target 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.
“Assault rifles and guns don’t belong in the baby aisle, they don’t belong in the toy aisle – and they don’t belong in any aisle of the stores that American moms frequent like Target,” said Shannon Watts, Founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “We are grateful that a store employee found this loaded gun and reported it to the authorities – but we have to acknowledge that this situation could have had a much more tragic outcome. This event underscores why it is so important for Target to stand with moms and support the safety and security of our children when we shop in their stores. It’s time for Target, a store that American moms flock to, to follow the lead of Chipotle and Starbucks and prohibit the open carry of firearms.”
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.