RULE FOUR FAILURE: Be Sure Of Your Target And What's Behind It

We’ve now had 24 hours to digest retailer Target’s decision to issue a statement on the matter of the carrying of firearms in their stores.

Every day at Target, in everything we do, we ask ourselves what is right for our guests? We make all of our decisions with that question in mind. Questions have circulated in recent weeks around Target’s policy on the “open carry” of firearms in its stores. Today, interim CEO, John Mulligan, shared the following note with our Target team members. We wanted you to hear this update from us, too.

The leadership team has been weighing a complex issue, and I want to be sure everyone understands our thoughts and ultimate decision.

As you’ve likely seen in the media, there has been a debate about whether guests in communities that permit “open carry” should be allowed to bring firearms into Target stores. 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.

We’ve listened carefully to the nuances of this debate and respect the protected rights of everyone involved. In return, we are asking for help in fulfilling our goal to create an atmosphere that is safe and inviting for our guests and team members.

This is a complicated issue, but it boils down to a simple belief: 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 was later reinforced by a clarification which noted that the statement was merely a request for customers to leave their firearms at home. They would make no effort to post their stores against the legal carriage of firearms.

Basically, what the company really wanted to say was something like this.

How the heck did we get caught up in this mess? All we want to do is sell cheap foreign-made stuff to hausfraus who feel they’re too good to be “people of Walmart.” We don’t want to be involved in gun rights politics at all

But thanks to some grandstanding long-gun open carry yahoos in Texas who can’t figure out basic muzzle discipline, and the response of some shrill harpies in Indiana taking orders from a bitter under-sized billionaire in New York, we’re screwed through no fault of our own.

We really don’t want any part of this… so how can we make it all go away, so we can go back to trying to make money for our shareholders?

I know! We’ll send out a non-committal yet carefully crafted press release that sounds like it’s saying something, while we actually change nothing. The little Moms Demanding Action From Illegal Mayors group will claim victory and come back to buy zinfandel and Xanax, and the retards who never passed range safety will stop muzzling each other’s feet in our parking lots and will go back to playing Call of Duty and leave us alone.

Heck, it worked for Starbucks.


And indeed, the non-committal statement probably will work for the company.

They lost a little business due to the relatively insignificant “Off Target” protests of Moms Demand Action From Illegal Mayors In Everytown, but now Shannon Watts is shrieking that she won an important victory… even through, of course, all she “won” was non-committal press release. Target customer service won’t have to field calls from angry old women anymore over guns, and can go back to fielding calls from angry old women over their stolen credit card information.

The Derpin’ Carry crowd will sniff and mutter and trudge back home, perplexed as to why they keep losing the same battle over and over and over again. Most will even make it home to put their un-fired M&P15 Sports back in the original factory boxes without having a negligent discharge.

They’ll then get their derp on and go find some other business that has no interest in being sucked into their idiocy in a couple of weeks, and we’ll repeat the cycle:

pointless display –> counter-protest –> toothless statement –> claims of victory

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Sooner or later—and at this point, we’re guessing much, much later—long gun open carriers are going to realize that at no point in the history of this land has long gun open carry into private businesses ever been viewed as “normal,” even in colonial times. They seem to forget that Paul Revere was freed to continue his mission after being captured the morning of April 19, 1775 because his British captors became startled and set him free after the Lexington Militia discharged their muskets before entering into a local tavern, as was customarily required.


These long-gun open carriers don’t seem to grasp the basic reality that companies don’t want to be the testing grounds for civil rights battles of any kind. They are in business to appeal to as many people as possible, and make as much money as possible for their shareholders. It is their fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the business’s shareholders. In the context of long gun open carry, corporate executives really only have three options:

  1. Do nothing, hoping that protests will fizzle out without affecting the company’s bottom line.
  2. Politely ask people to leave their guns at home, without posting signs that would make the request legally binding.
  3. Demand people leave their guns at home by posting signs making it illegal to bring guns into their stores.

It appears that Target tried option one, seeing just how long Moms Demand could keep up their campaign before saying anything at all. Once they felt they had to say something, they went with option two, and issued a Starbucks-like press release that gave a nod to acknowledging the angry shrews, without actually changing anything. If derpin’ carry activists continue to push the issue (and we’re all hoping they aren’t that stupid), then the company may be forced to take sterner measures, including posting their property.

So far, I’m unaware of derpin’ carry forcing the issue anywhere to the final stage of a legally binding ban, but they have pushed multiple companies to decry long gun open carry, and are thoroughly getting trounced in the political battle for public opinion, which is the fight that Moms Demand wanted in the first place.


We’ve tried to explain the battle to derpin’ carry activists time and again. They clearly don’t understand the battlespace, nor the fight, so it isn’t surprising that a group run by a PR executive (Shannon Watts) is kicking their butts from one end of Texas to the other. They’re losing so badly that even open carry supporters in Texas’s government are telling activists to shut up before they ruin chances of passing an open-carry reform law that was once a slam-dunk.

Open carrying long guns into businesses has never been normal in this country. It will never be viewed as normal. Attempting to make it normal is only going to result in a continuing backlash and the complete loss of open carry rights (ask open carry groups in California if you doubt this in the slightest).

Ostensibly, the various derpin’ carry groups want to legalize handgun open carry in Texas. If they want that, they simply need to disband, as the political will is there in both parties in Texas to pass such a law in the next session of the legislature.

If they refuse to disband, and continue pushing the failed tactics of long gun open carry on the property of private businesses (including their parking lots), we have every right to question what their motives really are, especially if they force yet another business (or businesses) into the uncomfortable position of having to comment on a matter they could care less about to the ultimate detriment of gun rights.


Part of being a responsible gun owner is knowing what your target is, and what’s behind it. Blasting away at everything you see with reckless abandon to the detriment of everyone is for fools.

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