Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a Michael Bloomberg-backed organization in favor of more gun control, is applying notable pressure on Target via Twitter this evening. The activist group is drawing attention to an open-carry gun policy that the retail giant evidently has in place for locations in states where such an action is legal.
It's a response to pictures of men and women carrying firearms in Dallas-area Target stores (photos below) that have surfaced on social media, apparently posted by members of Open Carry Texas and similar groups, which even the National Rifle Association has opposed in recent days. In the aftermath of a killing spree at a California college one week ago and several other mass shootings in recent years, the gun debate seems to be escalating—and Twitter looks to be an important platform for opposing sides to persuade public sentiment.
"Moms have their eye on Target because it’s a place we take our children to shop—and we’ve been disturbed by some of the demonstrations that gun extremists have held with loaded rifles inside and outside some stores. Assault rifles have no place in the baby aisle," Erika Soto Lamb, a spokeswoman for Moms Demand Action, told the Wall Street Journal.
In recent months, Soto Lamb's group has successfully influenced Chipotle, Starbucks, Chili's and Sonic to announce no-guns-in-stores policies for patrons.
Moms Demand Action is pushing #OffTarget and #GunSense hashtags in its current effort, and the hashtags have picked up considerable steam.
Updated: Target rep Molly Snyder emailed Adweek on Wednesday with the following statement: "At Target, the safety and security of our guests and team members is our highest priority. Target does not sell firearms or ammunition and, as it relates to this issue, we follow all state and federal laws."
When asked if recent developments would impact its store policies, the retailer didn't respond.