DALLAS — Thousands of moms are taking on open carry gun policies. It’s all part of an organization that now has its sights set on Target.
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America is a nonpartisan, grassroots movement advocating for stronger gun laws. It was formed the day after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The group says more than 200,000 people have signed its latest petition to prohibit the open carry of guns inside Target stores. Their advocacy has already prompted change at Chipotle, Sonic, Chili’s, and more.
On Wednesday, the moms on a mission met at a park in Dallas.
“This is an important issue,” said Linda Lackey of Fort Worth. “I want gun sense in America.”
Tony Gallego agrees. “I just think it's crazy the way that it's gone,” she said about being able to carry guns in stores.
The Dallas grandmother took her granddaughter Lilly downtown and parked her stroller across from Union Station, where Target’s annual shareholders meeting was underway. She wants the retail giant to have a change of heart and consider a change of policy.
“When I go to Target, or when I go to any store or any restaurant, I want to be able to have peace,” she said.
Gallego and more than a dozen other local women -- along with thousands of Target customers across America -- are petitioning for a ban on shopping with guns in plain sight.
“Put it in your purse,” Gallego said, matter-of-factly. “Put it in your car. Put it in your pocket. Whatever you need to do, but it doesn't need to be out in the open. That's wrong.”
Her frustration is fueled by a scary discovery last week at a Target store in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. A loaded gun was found in the toy aisle.
“I went to Target yesterday and I was actually scared,” Lackey said.
The protest by Moms Demand Action also comes on the heels of several demonstrations by open carry activists here in North Texas.
“People want to go, shop, go out to eat, be out in their communities and not encounter armed individuals,” said Carolyn, who was representing the D/FW chapter of Moms Demand Action.
Chris Donawho with Open Carry Tarrant County e-mailed News 8 this statement in response to the protest:
“From our perspective, this demonstration is nothing short of a group of citizens exercising their First Amendment right to free speech and assembly. While MDA exercises their natural and constitutional right to free speech, Open Carry Tarrant County continues to encourage less-restrictive gun legislation.
"The gun control debate will not be decided by Target or any other brand. Our fight is at the legislative level and, while we strongly oppose their message, we will stand behind their right to express it.”
Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder had this to say:
“We always respect the rights of our guests to express their opinions. We will continue to listen and take their feedback seriously. However, we don’t have any specific comments on any of the activities that are planned today. As we have previously shared, the safety and security of our guests and team members is our top priority and we follow all local, state and federal laws.”