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Target Joins Starbucks, Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. and Asks Customers to Not Carry Guns in Stores

Source: Flickr / Kevin Dooley

John Mulligan, the interim CEO of Target (NYSE: TGT  ) , today announced the company would ask its customers to no longer bring firearms into stores, even in those areas where it is permitted by law.

"We've listened carefully to the nuances of this debate and respect the protected rights of everyone involved," Mulligan wrote in a blog post. "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."

The popular retailer had faced pressure from the activist group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, which seeks "to establish common-sense gun reforms," and faced a petition with signatures of nearly 400,000 Americans.

The news from Target follows announcements from popular restaurants Chipotle Mexican Grill and Starbucks that they would no longer allow weapons in their stores.

Following the announcement from Target today, Moms Demand Action applauded Target for its decision to join Starbucks, Chipotle, and others in asking consumers to no longer bring guns into stores.

"Moms are thankful that Target responded quickly to the call [of] nearly 400,000 Americans and asked customers to keep their firearms at home," Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, said in the group's announcement. "Like Chipotle, Starbucks, ... 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."

In September of last year Howard Shultz, the CEO of Starbucks, said in an open letter that Starbucks is "respectfully requesting that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas -- even in states where 'open carry' is permitted -- unless they are authorized law enforcement personnel."

Mulligan's blog post had more than 1,000 comments as of noon Wednesday.

Editor's note: A reference to concealed weapons has been removed from this article, as Target's announcement referred to the "open carry" of weapons.

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  • Report this Comment On July 02, 2014, at 2:16 PM, DeVici wrote:

    I'd be curious to know how they think that they are showing respect for the 2nd Amendment.

    So if you think that you might want to eat or drink something that day, you leave you weapon at home or do they have a secure gun check-in at the door?

  • Report this Comment On July 02, 2014, at 4:03 PM, maganna wrote:

    Here's the thing...Do you think a criminal will respect these business' wishes to not carry a gun in their stores? Ah, I think not.

    People who have gun carry permits are law abiding citizens, who go through background checks and are fingerprinted.

    So, essentially when you have law abiding citizens not carrying in these stores and criminals carrying, you have all the store patrons "at risk".

    I don't think I will be doing any business in these stores, and remember "gun free zones" are NOT SAFE! Bad guys are lirking everywhere.

  • Report this Comment On July 02, 2014, at 4:07 PM, TimBobbitybim wrote:

    "I'd be curious to know how they think that they are showing respect for the 2nd Amendment."

    Perhaps by not being the federal government? The 2nd Amendment does not require private entities to allow firearms on their premises; it prohibits the federal government from enacting laws to prevent gun ownership.

    "So if you think that you might want to eat or drink something that day, you leave you weapon at home or do they have a secure gun check-in at the door?"

    How about by for one day putting away your childish fantasy and act like a civilized human being. This is not Somalia.

  • Report this Comment On July 02, 2014, at 4:08 PM, TimBobbitybim wrote:

    "Bad guys are lirking everywhere"

    Poor spellers and paranoiacs are more common.

  • Report this Comment On July 02, 2014, at 7:08 PM, tubainvestor wrote:

    A few technical notes:

    @Patrick Morris:

    All three announcements are about open carry, but the article mentions concealed carry, which is an entirely different animal.


    While I do believe the majority of gun owners are responsible citizens, your statement is incorrect. In New Hampshire (and in many states, including my home of Texas) the only state requirements for buying ad owning a firearm are that you comply with the federal requirements, which do not include fingerprinting. In New Hampshire there is no permit required for open carry, either. I *believe* the same is true in Vermont at the very least, but I haven't done the research on that in quite some time.

    New Hampshire:

    My personal opinion:

    Please please *please* don't confuse open carry and concealed carry. Concealed carry, which is much more commonly allowed than open carry (at least for handguns) doesn't have any kind of built-in intimidation factor while I think it's fair to say that open carry has *some* intimidation built into it in its very nature, just like strapping on a sword, wearing a shirt that says "I will kill you if I feel like it" or wearing a karate gi with a black belt. Some of those forms of intimidation just happen to be more familiar, and thus feel less threatening, to our culture than others.

  • Report this Comment On July 08, 2014, at 8:47 AM, schveiguy wrote:

    @tubainvestor: The post does NOT mention concealed carry, what it says is "But starting today we will also respectfully request that guests not bring firearms to Target – even in communities where it is permitted by law."

    The post does mention open carry, but the operative statement does not say "openly carried firearms", it says "firearms".

    I have called Target to confirm what they really mean (still waiting for email response), and I plan to visit the store (which I have hundreds of times with my concealed weapon without any incident) to speak with the manager.

    FWIW, Chipotle would not clarify to me whether they meant all firearms or just open-carry firearms. I have a feeling these businesses are just trying to be vague enough to please everyone, but that's not good enough for me. I will not visit a store with my firearm that vaguely prohibits firearms and does not mention concealed carry. This is an important issue that really has not been fully explained by all these businesses.

    Also, I live in MA, but visit VT quite often. VT has NO REGULATIONS for buying or carrying firearms, they rely on federal rules. It is actually unique in that respect (and because of it's very free policy, has the highest gun ownership rate in the nation, and one of the lowest gun-crime rates, obviously).

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Patrick Morris

After a few stints in banking and corporate finance, Patrick joined the Motley Fool as a writer covering the financial sector. He's scaled back his everyday writing a bit, but he's always happy to opine on the latest headline news surrounding Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett and all things personal finance.

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