Washington (AFP) - Giant US retailer Target -- the store with the bull's-eye as a logo -- says it does not want customers running around its shops carrying guns, even if it is legal.
Target announced Wednesday it would "respectfully request" shoppers not to bring firearms into its stores, "to create an atmosphere that is safe and inviting for our guests and team members."
With 44 of the 50 US states permitting people to openly carry handguns day-to-day, interim chief executive John Mulligan said in a statement that Target, which has nearly 1,800 stores in the United States, seeks to adhere to local regulations.
"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," he said.
"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 move made Target the country's largest retailer to attempt to ban guns. It did not say how it would deal with shoppers legally carrying handguns who want to enter a store.
But it comes amid a surge in concern over the availability of handguns across the country -- as well backlash from those supporting looser gun laws -- after a number of mass shootings in public areas.