Target Asks Customers Not to Bring Guns Into Stores

Target Corp. is asking customers not to bring guns into its stores, even in states where it’s legal to do so, joining Starbucks Corp. in seeking to ensure safety and keep from unsettling staff and customers.

The second-largest U.S. discount retailer said in a statement on its website today that while it will follow local laws, it will “respectfully request” guests not bring guns into stores to maintain a “safe and inviting” atmosphere.

“Bringing firearms to Target creates an environment that is at odds with the family-friendly shopping and work experience we strive to create,” Chief Executive Officer John Mulligan said in a statement on the retailer’s website.

Target’s request echoes one Starbucks made in September, when it also asked customers to stop bringing guns into its cafes. Seattle-based Starbucks had been embraced by gun-rights activists because it tolerated firearms in its stores and some had used its cafes as political stages for media events.

Firearm legislation varies from state to state in the U.S., and even from building to building. For example, in South Carolina and North Carolina, people can carry guns in bars, while Arkansas allows guns in some houses of worship and their affiliated K-12 schools.

Target rose 0.7 percent to $58.77 at the close in New York. Shares of the Minneapolis-based company have slid 7.1 percent this year.