Target says it will 'respectfully request' shoppers not bring guns into stores [UPDATED]

For the past month, Target has had something of a PR nightmare on its hands in Texas, where the group Open Carry Texas has been meeting up and strolling the parking lots and aisles with rifles draped over their shoulders. It is legal in Texas to openly carry rifles in public, but not handguns. Scenes like this have led to panic and outrage, and even the NRA said such a sight was "downright weird." (The NRA later issued an apology for that statement.)

Don't let #GunGrabbers like @MidwestSarabeth insult lawful #OpenCarry #GunOwners at @target helping keep us safe. #2a

— U.S. Firearm Rights (@usfirearmrights) January 14, 2014

Today, Target issued a statement about guns in its stores on its blog. It is vague, to say the least:

As you’ve likely seen in the media, there has been a debate about whether guests in communities that permit “open carry” should be allowed to bring firearms into Target stores. Our approach has always been to follow local laws, and of course, we will continue to do so. 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.

We've reached out to Target to see how store associates are being told to handle such situations, and what exactly constitutes a "respectful request," and will give you an update if they reply. 

UPDATE:Target responded to our clarification of what a "respectful request" is, and whether or not they will be training employees on the matter:

Good question. This is a request but not a prohibition. Our approach has always been to follow the local laws and we will continue to do so. At this time, we do not have any plans to proactively communicate this request to our guests beyond the initial ask from Target leadership today.

Topics: Consumer Behavior, Department Stores, Employee Training

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