The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

June 5, 2014

Gun-control group presses Target on open carry

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A gun-control group is trying to pressure Minneapolis-based retailer Target Corp. into prohibiting customers from carrying guns in its stores, following efforts that prompted Starbucks, Chipotle and other restaurant chains to try to limit the open carry of firearms.

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America has launched a social media campaign seeking to counter gun owners in some states who've been shopping and dining with rifles slung over their shoulders to asset their rights to openly carry guns in public.

The group's founder, Shannon Watts, said rifle-toting shoppers have been spotted at Target stores in Wisconsin, Texas, Alabama, Ohio, North Carolina, Washington and Virginia.

"It's time for companies like Target to weigh in and have a policy around guns, just like they do around smoking and proper attire, because, unfortunately, gun extremists believe that when you don't have a policy in place, it means you support open carry in your stores," Watts told Minnesota Public Radio.

Last month, after being pressured by the moms group, Chipotle released a statement that said "the display of firearms in our restaurants has now created an environment that is potentially intimidating or uncomfortable for many of our customers."

The group has been circulating photos of Second Amendment activists in Target stores with rifles slung over their shoulders. So has been Open Carry Texas, which is trying to persuade the Texas Legislature to allow people to legally carry handguns in the open, as they can with rifles.

"There's an absurdity in Texas law," said Tov Henderson, a spokesman for Open Carry Texas. "You may walk around with an AR-15 strapped to your back. But you may not carry a Glock or whatever your choice of handgun is on your hip, because at that point, you're committing a felony."

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