MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Target has a message for shoppers who want to bring guns into its stores. The Minnesota company announced a decision Wednesday on what’s been a controversial debate after pictures started popping up on social media.

In a statement, interim CEO John Mulligan said that Target will “respectfully request that guests not bring firearms to Target – even in communities where it is permitted by law.”

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In the last few months, gun rights activists in Texas and other open-carry states chose Target stores as places to demonstrate their rights.

That forced the company to publicly state where it stands on carrying firearms in its stores.

Mulligan acknowledged it is a “complicated issue,” but he said 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.

We talked to shoppers at the Midway store in St. Paul.

“I want to feel safe where I am going to get my groceries, I want to know I can go in, go out and go home,” Kim Mamer said.

Many parents of small children expressed safety concerns.

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“Scary for children,” Beatriz Holmes said. “It would make it scary for parents, and, you know, an accident could happen. Parents not looking or that person not looking, maybe a kid could go grab [a gun] just because they think it’s a toy or something.”

Others said they support the push by gun rights activists. They think it should be OK to shop with a firearm openly displayed.

“My opinion is that I think it should be allowed,” Kelly Jary said. “Because we all have our rights.”

Back in June, members of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America protested outside the downtown Minneapolis Target store. That group is now applauding the company’s decision.

However, a spokesperson for Target said this is not a ban on firearms in stores, but rather a request.

Another question people may be asking is: Will Target be posting those signs that say “Guns are not permitted on these premises”?

The answer is no.

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A company spokesperson said there would be no changes as far as signage is concerned.