Friday, July 11, 2014

Target in a Confused (If Not Deceptive) Manner Addresses Firearms in its Stores

The Target CEO recently made the news by "addressing" the matter of its customers carrying firearms in Target stores.  The pertinent post on Target's blog is here.  The text of that post is as follows:

[The post begins with an editorial introduction.] Every day at Target, in everything we do, we ask ourselves what is right for our guests? We make all of our decisions with that question in mind. 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.

[Then we have Mulligan's statement.]  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.

Is Mulligan addressing "open-carry" alone or do his remarks include licensed concealed carry?  I am uncomfortable with open-carry practices, but I affirm the right to concealed carry.  I think the pressure for open carry is coming from fringe elements in the right-to-bear-arms population, although obviously a powerful fringe-element.  In my view, open carry is provocative and unnecessary.

Mulligan's statement, however, does not clearly distinguish open-carry and concealed-carry practices.  Is he using the general discomfort with open-carry as a means to taint the practice of concealed-carry?  I think he probably is.  As you read many of the news reports on Mulligan's statement, the distinction between open-carry and concealed-carry is difficult, if not impossible, to see.  I attribute that to a bad-faith attack on all carry forms.

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