USA Today, the retailer posted a notice on its website this morning that quickly drew attention on Twitter — with the hashtag #ontarget.
"Our approach has always been to follow local laws, and of course, we will continue to do so," the notice says. "But starting today we will also respectfully request that guests not bring firearms to Target — even in communities where it is permitted by law. We've listened carefully to the nuances of this debate and respect the protected rights of everyone involved. In return, we are asking for help in fulfilling our goal to create an atmosphere that is safe and inviting for our guests and team members."
The "debate" continued to rage in comments posted on Target's website. Among them: "This is just to shut up the anti gunners," commented Kory Watkins. "Going back to Target with my gun today and tomorrow and whatever days I want." But S.K. Boss offered this: "Thank you, Target, for displaying #gunsense and promoting public safety as a civic duty." Both comments had drawn hundreds of likes by early afternoon.
The Minneapolis-based retailer says guns in its stores are "at odds" with the family atmosphere it champions. Gun rights advocates have made headlines in recent months by openly bringing weapons into some Targets stores, a demonstration of their rights to openly carry firearms in public.
A month ago, the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America launched a petition asking Target to prevent customers from carrying firearms in its 1,700-plus stores. The petition drew nearly 400,000 signatures. The group issued a statement today applauding Target's decision.