As Western Journalism reported, Target has become one of the latest major retail chains to insist – or at least strongly encourage – its law-abiding customers to leave their firearms behind when shopping.
Though public backlash led the corporation to reiterate that the request is “not a ban” and that there is “no prohibition” of guns in its stores, CEO John Mulligan made it clear that he would prefer pistol-packing patrons stay away.
In a blog post earlier this month, he wrote that the company “will also respectfully request that guests not bring firearms to Target – even in communities where it is permitted by law.”
As with fast food chain Jack in the Box and countless other locations deemed ‘gun-free zones,’ this decision seems to have had consequences. As Gainesville, Fla. police reported this week, three men swarmed on a Target shopper in the parking lot in an attempt to rob him at gunpoint.
“Officers responded,” Cpl. Kevin Holbrook told the Gainesville Times; “they were quickly able to get a description and possible suspect description.”
Fortunately, there were no reports of injuries to the victim, Kyle Bledsoe; and the robbery was ultimately unsuccessful. Authorities said he had more than $500 in cash with him at the time of the incident.
Furthermore, the three alleged criminals were soon rounded up in a nearby neighborhood.
“Officers were able to locate the suspects on Azalea Drive,” Holbrook affirmed; “and with the assistance of Hall County Sheriff’s Office deputies, they were able to detain all three suspects.”
At least one handgun believed to have been used in the robbery attempt was also recovered and taken into evidence, police noted.
Each of the suspects is being held without bond.
While Bledsoe avoided a potentially deadly result in this frightening encounter, the incident could have easily taken a much more tragic turn. As Target and other major chains consider keeping guns out of the hands of responsible customers, it becomes clear that these policies have no deterrent effect on those determined to cause harm.
Photo Credit: Caldorwards4 (Creative Commons)