Target – see what they did there?

I hate most kinds of shopping, and most kinds of shops. Confined spaces, lots of strangers everywhere, no trees or birds or large bodies of water – what’s to like about them? But I can tolerate them for the time it takes me to find the milk or socks or shampoo I need to get, usually. Unless there is Christmas music playing – then I really can’t tolerate them, and postpone non-essential shopping until after the season is over.

But there are some extras I can think of that would make a shop even more hellish. A bunch of polar bears roaming around hungrily? A raging fire? A broken sewer pipe?

Shoppers roaming around with shotguns slung over their backs?

open carry guns in Target

More images have surfaced of gun rights activists carrying weapons inside Target stores in Texas. On May 31, several women went shopping at a Target in Corpus Christi, toting not just kids but also shotguns and semi-automatic rifles.

“We just kind of feel like our rights are being infringed upon, which is against the constitution,” the organizer, Sarah Head, told a local TV station two days before the demonstration.

For several months members of the group Open Carry Texas—mostly men, some of whom have used disturbing intimidation tactics against women—have shown up armed at Target stores to demonstrate their right to carry rifles openly in public and to call for the right to do so with handguns (which is not legal in Texas.) They’ve hung out in the Target parking lot. They’ve carried their weapons in Target’s toy aisles and declared that the company is “very 2A friendly.” In at least one case, as I reported recently, Target has known in advance that they were coming.

That. If I went into a Target and saw people roaming around with shotguns I would be out of there in a heartbeat.

This country is a basket case.


  1. Onamission5 says

    She’s carrying her gun upside down. If it rains, the inside of the barrel will get all wet, and if it accidentally discharges, it’s much more dangerous angled toward the head of people alongside her than if it’s fired at the ground.

    Plus if she feels the need to swing it around for “self-protection” she’s going to end up pointing the barrel behind her and, providing she can grip the trigger at all, shooting the next customer in line.

    The message I get from this photo is “We think guns are toys and we have no goddamned idea what we are doing FREEDOM!”

  2. Al Dente says

    What does carrying a shotgun or rifle in a store prove? “Hey, look at me, I’m Billy or Betty Badass and I can afford to pay a couple of hundred bucks to buy a cheap shotgun.”

  3. says

    Second Amendment to US Constitution:

    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed

    Even if we were to accept that the amendment is a good idea as written (I personally don’t), what part of “walking around waving shotguns and rifles in defiance of basic gun safety rules” can possibly be considered “a well-regulated militia” ?

  4. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    members of the group Open Carry Texas—mostly men, some of whom have used disturbing intimidation tactics against women—have shown up armed at Target stores to demonstrate their right to carry rifles openly in

    Why Target stores? Because the name sounds appropriate or are there other reasons?
    Presumably if people have the right to carry guns in public, shops have the right to demand that they deposit them at the entrance while they are in the shop.

  5. Martin Cohen says

    Maybe Target can’t stop them from carrying the guns, but they can refuse to sell to them: “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.”

  6. Chris J says

    I wonder if the guns that Open Carry Texas are toting around are loaded or not. I know technically you should handle every gun as if it were loaded, but I wonder if they purposefully load them or not. If they do, that’s frikken absurd that they expect to be able to openly carry around loaded weapons. If not, what do they expect to be able to do with an empty gun for self-defense?

    A stranger on the street once got angry at me over something trivial and asked me “do you want to get shot” and pantomimed reaching into his belt for a gun. I don’t know if he actually had one or not, but it was scary as fuck. Now I’m trying to imagine a world where that person had a legal right to carry around a gun. Maybe he’d get in trouble for pulling it on someone, but that wouldn’t mean much to me.

    They honestly don’t care about anyone around them.

  7. funknjunk says

    Yup, i don’t get it. These people live in a fantasy world, but even in that world, the tropes and myths they seem to want to live out are not congruent with their actions. They seem to want a Wild West kind of environment … but you know, in all the stories about Wyatt Earp and sich, THESE people would be the bad guys. They are refusing to disarm, so we can have a safe society. They’re refusing to leave their weapons at the town limits …. Tangentially, this kind of reminds me of Bill Maher’s point in one of his rants, talking about Republicans and bullies and being “Real Men” (like they all want to be). In our media culture, the “Real Men” are portrayed as standing up to the bullies, protecting ‘the people’ from bullies; doing what’s right. Not the other way around. They can’t even get the mythology right ….

  8. Jeremy Shaffer says

    sc at 5-

    Why Target stores? Because the name sounds appropriate or are there other reasons?

    Based on what some people in my neck of the woods say, it’s possible that Target has a correlation with liberals and liberalism, as opposed to Wal-Mart, which is where True Americans shop. That could just be something limited to people I know in regards to Target but that is why some of these Open Carry people have tried to do the same at places like Starbucks.

  9. Bernard Bumner says

    We all know that guns are just tools – this exactly like going shopping with a pair of mole grips in your back pocket….

    That picture makes Texas look like a place I never want to visit. It looks dangerous.

  10. Menyambal says

    The Second Amendment has nothing to do with that picture up there.

    At the time when a well-practiced musket formation was the best defensive force, the citizen army needed regular access to the state-issued arms, for practice. This was opposed to keeping the arms in an armory, which would reduce practice and would also slow deployment, and was also opposed to a standing army of paid mercenaries.

    The US now has a standing army of paid soldiers, strictly forbidden by the constitution, and as ever, supplies the arms to the defenders of the state.

  11. karmacat says

    Of course, the ones who are at the most risk of getting shot are their own kids. I was in Houston recently but fortunately see any of this but Houston tends to be somewhat civilized

  12. Ed says

    I’d almost like to see it in person once (and only once) out of morbid curiosity and my fascination with the weird.

    Seriously though, if it hasn’t happened already, this thing is going to get people killed. It would be ironic if the open carry movement clashed with the typical red state dogma that anyone who isn’t a convicted felon should be able to carry a concealed weapon with a tiny bit of training and a small licencing fee. Combine this with the popular open ended definition of killing in self defense(if they make you nervous shoot `em).

    Say some moron is happily strutting down the sidewalk with an assault rifle strapped across his chest. He carelessly bumps into a person who happens to be carrying a concealed pistol in an easy to reach place.

    That person is startled to see some thuggish looking guy with a massive gun looming over them, and so draws and shoots. Who would the gun loving community side with? To me it would be an understandable mistake. No one grew up in an America where walking around with military hardware was normal. The pistol packet might have been genuinely worried about Rambo`s intentions.

    Many of them carry the rifle strapped into a position similar to the way a soldier not in combat but in a potentially dangerous place would carry it. In other words very ready for action.; one step away from being ready to grab and fire. This looks very threatening and someone suddenly confronted with this sight might panic.

    Also, what about a group of these activists going into a business where the proprietor doesn’t want them? They start talking about their rights and he/she pulls a gun and says get the hell out now.

    It’s not that I want these tragedies to happen, but it would be a predictable result of the all fun and games attitude many have toward deadly weapons. I would also guess that the concealed carrier or the shopkeeper might be at least slightly more serious people more likely to actually know how to use a gun.

    Again, who does the NRA or whoever side with?

  13. says

    One short tempered idiot, or too many people who don’t want to be around folks who are armed. Target or any business would have to do something. And then where would the paranoia go if it’s not just the government?

  14. RJW says

    If she were ever confronted by an armed assailant that woman would be dead before she managed to unsling the shotgun, flick the safety off, aim and fire.

    Fortunately her child doesn’t appear to be armed.

    @7 Chris J,

    Suppose he’d tried that with someone who was armed.

  15. latsot says

    In the UK we have this strange idea that nobody should be carrying weapons around unless they have a good and highly specific reason. Hardly any reasons are defined as good. Self defence, for example, is absolutely NOT a good reason to carry a weapon.

    I know, I know, it’s CRAZY. How are we supposed to overthrow a corrupt government if we’re not allowed to walk around in public packing a blunderbuss and a bandoleer of throwing knives?

  16. Menyambal says

    The Open Carry folks and the Stand Your Ground folks had better never meet.

    Seriously, somebody could shoot a person like in the top pic, right there in the store, and claim that they had felt threatened. And given that those folks have been going around threatening people, the reasoning would be sound.

    If you are going to pack a shotgun while pushing a shopping cart, the gun should be laid across the handlebars/child seat top to allow for quick access. (Maybe I should sell Shoppers Scabbards ™ that strap to the cart for upright convenience. )

  17. Onamission5 says

    Sound advice from someone people ought to want to hear from on the subject, and yet, the comments are rife with such illuminating statements as “nuh-uh!” and “hyperbole!”

  18. Ed says

    I hope they can resist the temptation to stand in the parking lot and have a shooting contest with the store’s huge, conveniently target-shaped sign. Bull’s eye! Yeeeehaaw!! You owe me a beer.


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