Last week, the national retailer Target asked its customers not to carry guns while shopping in its stores. The request is now being criticized by some, following recent reports of at least two robberies on Target property in Georgia.
Police in Gainesville, Georgia, arrested three men this week in connection with an attempted armed robbery that occurred July 2 in the parking lot of a local Target store, according to the Gainesville Times.
Tuesday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported a woman was beaten and her car was stolen July 5 in the parking garage of an Atlanta-area Target. Police said the woman’s attacker hit her over the head, forcing her to the ground. The suspect took her purse and car keys and reportedly told her “stay on the ground or I will … kill you” before speeding off in the woman’s car.
Jerry Henry, a gun rights advocate and executive director of GerogiaCarry.org, told WND that Target’s decision to ask customers to leave their guns at home may have been responsible for the attacks.
“That’s what happens in gun-free zones,” he said. “They actually should be called victim-enrichment zones because that’s what they are. If anyone wants to commit a crime with impunity, take your gun where there are no guns. You can do what you want, get in and get out and there’s nobody to stop you.”
Target CEO John Mulligan originally made the appeal to customers in a statement posted on the company’s website July 2 — the same day of the attack in Gainesville.
“Bringing firearms to Target creates an environment that is at odds with the family-friendly shopping and work experience we strive to create,” the statement read, according to The Washington Post. “Starting today we will also respectfully request that guests not bring firearms to Target – even in communities where it is permitted by law.”
Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder clarified the new policy saying it was not an outright ban on guns but simply a “request” that customers not carry guns into the store.
“Because this is a request and not a prohibition, we do not plan to communicate with our customers at this time,” Snyder told The Wire, suggesting Target won’t be asking gun-toting customers to leave their stores.