Both sides of open carry debate see Target announcement as victory

Target interim CEO John Mulligan announced Tuesday that the Minneapolis-based retail giant will "respectfully request that guests not bring firearms" inside stores. Although weapons are "at odds with the family-friendly shopping," the company would continue to oblige by local laws that allow open carry.

Both sides of the chalked it up as a victory.

See also:
Gun permit holders can legally carry rifles in Minnesota Target stores

For instance, the Texas-based Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America received Target's decision with applause. For weeks now it's been pressuring the retailer to follow the example of Chipotle and other restaurants in opposing guns on their property.

Shannon Watts, founder of the advocacy group, which reportedly takes money from billionaire Michael Bloomberg, wrote in a statement that "Target recognized that moms are a powerful customer base and political force -- and you can respect the 2nd Amendment and the safety of customers at the same time."

But a request is a request. Target did not actually ban guns within its stores, as some headlines have declared, even though it could have. In an interview with the Star Tribune, a company spokeswoman could not have been more clear: "There is no prohibition." There won't even be signs.

The Minnesota Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance painted its Facebook wall with #WINNING. Its president thanked Target for refusing "to give into Bloomberg's demands," but also saw the decision for what it is: a "non-policy."

Indeed, the real winner here is Target and it's PR machine (and possibly this Twitter hashtag). The retailer got dragged into this mess when a group of gun lovers showed up last month at a store in Texas brandishing assault rifles.

One of the smartest reactions of the day came from a commenter on the alliance Facebook page who noted that both gun lovers and haters go shopping. What Mulligan is really trying to say is simple: "leave us out of your fight."

-- Send story tips to the author or follow him on Twitter @marxjesse

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