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Target asks customers not to bring guns into stores

Interim CEO John Mulligan said that Target wants a ‘‘safe and inviting’’ atmosphere for its shoppers and employees.

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Interim CEO John Mulligan said that Target wants a ‘‘safe and inviting’’ atmosphere for its shoppers and employees.

NEW YORK (AP) — Target is ‘‘respectfully’’ asking its customers to not bring firearms into its stores, even where it is allowed by law.

In a statement posted Wednesday on the retailer’s corporate blog, interim CEO John Mulligan said that Target wants a ‘‘safe and inviting’’ atmosphere for its shoppers and employees.

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‘‘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 family-friendly shopping and work experience we strive to create,’’ he said.

In many states, carrying unconcealed guns in public is legal.

Molly Snyder, a Target spokesman, said that Target’s move is a ‘‘request and not a prohibition.’’

‘‘We don’t have any plans for proactive communication to guests beyond what Target leadership shared today,’’ she added.

Target does not sell guns in its stores or on its website.

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Target Corp. made the announcement as it faced pressure about its policy on the ‘‘open carry’’ of firearms in its stores. A group called Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America gathered nearly 400,000 signatures for a petition asking Target to prohibit shoppers from carrying guns into its stores.

The group has said it is responsible for getting several chains, including Chipotle, Starbucks and Jack in the Box, to to make similar moves. It introduced the campaign after gun rights groups carrying loaded rifles frequently gathered in Target stores including Texas, Alabama and North Carolina to demonstrate in support of ‘‘open carry’’ laws.

‘‘Such positive safety changes made by some of our country’s leading retailers are proof of the influence of women and mothers,’’ said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. ‘‘As we look toward election season, we hope our legislators are taking notice that when women and mothers collectively raise our voices — and soon cast our votes, we are determined to leave an impact.’’

The Minneapolis company’s stock added 36 cents to $58. 73 in Wednesday mid-day trading.

The full statement is below:

“The leadership team has been weighing a complex issue, and I want to be sure everyone understands our thoughts and ultimate decision.

“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.

“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 family-friendly shopping and work experience we strive to create.”

Related coverage:

Gun controversy lost on new shooting stars

Supreme Court rules on ‘straw purchaser’ law

Grieving father drives gun debate after Calif. shootings

DeLeo pushes tighter gun law

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