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Shoppers react to Target request that customers not bring guns

Updated: Thursday, July 3 2014, 10:13 PM CDT
BEAUMONT- by Haley Bull

A national retail chain is asking customers to keep their guns out of the store. The interim CEO of Target sent a note to employees explaining the request. It's not an order, but when the note went public it drew both praise and criticism from customers across the country and in Southeast Texas.

Shoppers headed into Target in Beaumont on Thursday afternoon entered a store with a new stance on firearms.

"Makes  me want to shop here even more now that I know they have that policy," Wayne Wells, a customer, said.

"Kind of makes me feel a little more negatively towards Target. I love Target but I'm not really happy about their decision with that," Emily Brumley, a customer, said.

Target is asking customers to check their guns at the door.

"To be honest with you I don't agree with it at all," customer Lindsie Postert said. "I think that especially women, out here in a parking lot need to be protected."

"Well, I will say as a parent that is, I like that. Safety reasons obviously," customer Cristie Caraway said.

In a note to Target employees Wednesday, Interim CEO John Mulligan wrote, "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."

The decision follows open carry law debates across the country, in Texas and in Beaumont.

"Open carry is a right," Derek Poe, the owner of Golden Triangle Tactical said.

Poe is facing disorderly conduct charges after carrying a long gun through Parkdale Mall. Poe has said he meant no harm. The case has drawn national headlines.

"The open carry is a deterrent. If somebody walks around and they see a police officer, you know, they're obviously not gonna do a crime in front of the cop not because the police officer has a bouquet of flowers in his pistol belt but you know because he has a firearm," Poe said.

Poe moved his store to a location off Highway 105 from the mall after the mall enforced a gun ban.

As far as Target, it's not a ban but a request.

The CEO said guns are at odds with the family-friendly environment the company strives to create.

One question raised is how can police enforce the request? Beaumont Police told KFDM News if Target puts up the proper signs, someone who brings in a gun can face misdemeanor charges. If there aren't signs, it comes down to whether that person has a concealed handgun license.

Click here to read Target's statement in full.Shoppers react to Target request that customers not bring guns


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