Opinion

Target: Please leave your guns outside, for the sake of 'family-friendly shopping'

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Gun Control,Target,Retail,Spencer Brown

Target is asking its customers to please leave their guns outside, saying the open carrying of firearms is at odds with "family-friendly shopping."

In a statement Wednesday, the Minneapolis-based retail giant "respectfully request[s]" that firearms not be brought into its stores, "even in communities where it is permitted by law."

In the blog-style post on its corporate website, Target explains its reasoning behind issuing a formal request to its guests. "Questions have circulated in recent weeks around Target’s policy on the 'open carry' of firearms in its stores. Today, interim CEO, John Mulligan, shared the following note with our Target team members. We wanted you to hear this update from us, too."

Admitting that gun rights are a "complicated" and "complex issue," Mulligan decided to go ahead and boil it down himself anyway: "Bringing firearms to Target creates an environment that is at odds with the family-friendly shopping and work experience we strive to create."

The release cites the ongoing media debate over "open carry" of firearms, saying the retailer has "listened carefully to the nuances of the debate and respect the protected rights of everyone involved." It continues, implying that its careful consideration of the "nuances" renders guests indebted to Target by saying, "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."

Even though the statement might sound as crisp and clean as Target's stores, the underlying implication is that legally carrying a permitted firearm makes Target stores unsafe, uninviting and not family-friendly for guests or employees. And while Mulligan says Target respects the protected rights of everyone involved, he asks millions of Americans to forget their rights when they step into the land of red and khaki.

Cue the boycott calls from gun-rights advocates in 3, 2, 1 ....

With Target still struggling to recover from a massive data breach during last year's holiday shopping season that ultimately ended then-CEO Doug Steinhafel's tenure, is now the best time for the interim CEO to be driving more customers away?

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Spencer Brown

Special to the Examiner
The Washington Examiner

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