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McHenry Co. gun-rights advocate answers Target CEO’s request

Published: Friday, July 4, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT
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(H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com)
Target is asking its customers to not bring firearms into its stores, even where it is allowed by law. In a statement on the retailer's corporate blog, interim CEO John Mulligan said that Target wants a "safe and inviting" atmosphere for its shoppers and employees.

After learning of Target’s recent request that shoppers not bring guns into stores, the president of the McHenry County Right to Carry Association said the corporation was, in essence, “shooting itself in the foot.”

“When we have organizations making those kinds of requests,” Mickey Schuch said Thursday after reading about Target’s decision, “it’s actually pretty ignorant to take a huge segment of people and ask them not to be responsible for themselves or their families.”

Target’s statement was posted online Wednesday by Target’s interim CEO John Mulligan, who wrote, “we will also respectfully request that guests not bring firearms to Target – even in communities where it is permitted by law. ... 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 famil friendly shopping and work experience we strive to create.”

The request – not to be confused with a ban dictated by state-provided signage – comes after a monthlong campaign directed at Target and launched by Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a national group formed in 2013 after the Sandy Hook school shooting.

The campaign was subsequent to gun-rights activists apparently holding demonstrations at Target stores while carrying rifles in support of open-carry laws, according to a statement on the Moms for Action website.

The statement, which was posted Wednesday, also applauds Target’s decision.

While Schuch called Target’s request “ignorant,” he also said the behavior of the demonstrators who prompted the campaign was regretful.

“These people look like idiots,” he said, looking at photos of the demonstrations. “There’s no reason to walk down the street with a rifle strapped to your back. These are the kinds of things that set these mothers off.”

The statement from Target’s CEO is similar to those recently made by Starbucks and Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.

Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder reiterated Thursday via email the request does not translate to prohibition.

“This is a request and not a ban,” Snyder wrote. “Therefore, at this time, we don’t have plans to proactively communicate with our guests beyond what was shared yesterday. There are no plans for signage.”

As it’s not an outright ban, Schuch said this won’t deter him from going to Target in the future.

From where he stands, however, encouraging “law-abiding concealed carriers” to leave their guns at home doesn’t sound like a solution.

“For the most part, the folks that are legally armed are not the ones you have to look out for,” Schuch said. “If someone comes in intending to commit a crime, a sign or a request won’t deter them. ... This is probably just [Target’s] way of placating customers that are complaining about it.”

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