Today Target made public their own position on the open carry policy by asking guests not to bring firearms into their stores. In the statement interim CEO John Mulligan says that the leadership teamed has been "weighing the complex issue." While the leadership says their "approach has always been to follow local laws" they will in the future "request that guests not bring firearms to Target - even in communities where it is permitted." A full copy of the statement, via the store's website, can be read here.
In the statement Mulligan goes on to state that the leadership has "listened carefully to the nuances of this debate and respect the protected rights of of everyone involved." Still, the store asks that "in return" the guests "help in fulfilling our goal to create an atmosphere that is safe and inviting for our guests and team members."
While acknowledging the "complicated issue" the store says it all "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 statement may anger some gun rights advocates, who have gone into restaurants like Chipotle while openly carrying assault rifles in a demonstration of their rights under open carry laws. In response to the controversy, the National Rifle Association (NRA) asked open carry advocates to stop this practice, calling it "downright scary." Later the NRA backtracked and support the open carry protesters.
Target frames their statement as more of a request to gun owners not to bring their firearms into store. The statement does not detail how Target will respond if open carry advocates do not comply with this "request." Since a Target store is privately owned property the management would have the right to kick open carry advocates off their property if they wanted, but doing so may create a tense confrontation.