MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Several protests are happening right now across the country outside Target stores. A group of moms is calling for the retail giant to ban open carry of guns in its nearly 1,800 stores nationwide.
This comes after pro-gun rights groups brought several loaded weapons into Target stores in several states and a gun was found in a toy aisle in South Carolina.
Target is holding its annual shareholders meeting Wednesday in Dallas, where there will also be a protest.
The protest in downtown Minneapolis is being described as “peaceful.” A petition with 4,000 signatures was handed to the store manager at Target.
The group leading the protest is called “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.” The group was formed after the Newtown, Connecticut shooting.
They’re calling Wednesday’s demonstration a “stroller jam.”
They say they have a petition nationally with 205,000 signatures asking Target’s CEO John Mulligan to prohibit the open carry of guns.
The group who the moms call “gun extremists” have been holding demonstrations openly carrying firearms in Target stores and this is a counter demonstration.
One mom describes why she feels openly carrying guns in a store like Target would be unsafe.
“My children’s response and my response is, ‘Oh my gosh, why is there an armed gunman here? Do I need to duck and cover? Do I need to think about my children’s safety?'” Leah Auckenthaler said. “I need Target to come out and as a Minnesota mom, I’m just coming to the store because that’s where I spend my money, and I’m just saying, I just need you guys to come out and make sure that you understand that rifles have no place in a family-friendly store like Target.”
Open Carry Texas is a self-described group that focuses on the right to openly carry properly holstered handguns in daily American life. They carried rifles because they are allowed in Texas for open carry — the group wants handguns also to be allowed under open carry.
Target did release a response to the protests, saying they follow state and federal laws and do not sell firearms or ammunition.
“We always respect the rights of our guests to express their opinions. We will continue to listen and take their feedback seriously. However, we don’t have any specific comments on any of the activities that are planned today. As we have previously shared, the safety and security of our guests and team members is our top priority and we follow all local, state and federal laws.”