A gun reportedly found in the toy aisle at a Myrtle Beach Target store is being seized on to pressure the retailer and others into banning guns from their stores. The firearm, an inexpensive Hi-Point 9 mm semi-automatic handgun, was reportedly found by a loss prevention worker, NBC’s WMBF News reported in a still-updating story.
The incident draws further attention to a controversy that anti-gun activists have seized on to with media support, and one that has caused no small amount of argument within the pro-gun community over the advisability of putting businesses in the middle of open carry protests. Even NRA was drawn into the controversy with a statement using words like “weird” that was later partially pulled back as unauthorized.
The debate aside, one Target customer interviewed in the WMBF story made an observation that has set sides to pointing fingers.
"I don't think someone would accidentally drop off a gun. I think he purposely left it there for a child to pick up and think, 'Oh it's a toy gun,' and accidentally point it at somebody and it goes off," shopper Kennedy McClain offered.
If that’s the case, whether there’s a deeper motive should also be explored, including asking who would stand to benefit and who would not. For their part, Moms Demand Action have reacted derisively, calling “utterly ridiculous” a suggestion made to HuffPost by C.J. Grisham, president of Open Carry Texas, that the gun had been planted by opponents of gun rights.
The thing is, there’s also the possibility that the gun was not planted by any activist, but left there by a criminal with unrelated motives, perhaps to get rid of evidence tying him to a crime. Or perhaps whoever did it is genuinely evil and unbalanced, and wanted to see McClain’s fears actualized. There's also a possibility the worker who claims he found the gun can reveal more under further questioning. In any case, police are circulating a store camera capture of a man deemed a person of interest (see photo accompanying this article) who may or may not have involvement with the incident, and are asking for the public’s help in identifying him.
Also of interest is the last known owner of the handgun, Chavonne Tere Moore, whom WMBF reports "is wanted for questioning in reference to the incident. Anyone with information on Moore is asked to contact Detective Jones, or text "TIPSC plus your message" to CRIMES (274637)."
Both sides should have a vested interest in apprehending anyone who would be involved in such a thing, and if they can agree on nothing else, they should be circulating the photos and information within their spheres of influence, and urging anyone with knowledge to come forward.
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