NEW YORK - Target is "respectfully" asking its customers to not bring firearms into its stores, even where it is allowed by law.
In a statement posted Wednesday on the retailer's corporate blog, interim CEO John Mulligan said that Target wants a "safe and inviting" atmosphere for its shoppers and employees.
"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," he said.
In many states, carrying unconcealed guns in public is legal.
Molly Snyder, a Target spokesman, said that Target's move is a "request and not a prohibition."
"We don't have any plans for proactive communication to guests beyond what Target leadership shared today," she added.
Target does not sell guns in its stores or on its website.
Target Corp. made the announcement as it faced pressure about its policy on the "open carry" of firearms in its stores. A group called Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America gathered nearly 400,000 signatures for a petition asking Target to prohibit shoppers from carrying guns into its stores.
The group has said it is responsible for getting several chains, including Chipotle, Starbucks and Jack in the Box, to to make similar moves. It introduced the campaign after gun rights groups carrying loaded rifles frequently gathered in Target stores including Texas, Alabama and North Carolina to demonstrate in support of "open carry" laws.
"Such positive safety changes made by some of our country's leading retailers are proof of the influence of women and mothers," said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. "As we look toward election season, we hope our legislators are taking notice that when women and mothers collectively raise our voices — and soon cast our votes, we are determined to leave an impact."
The Minneapolis company's stock added 36 cents to $58. 73 in Wednesday mid-day trading.
AP Business Writer Michelle Chapman in New York contributed to this report.
WATCH: Real-life superheroes surprise Oregon boy
An Oregon boy had the birthday party of a lifetime after a few real-life superheroes made sure his day was extra special.
Indy Ten Point invited to Ferguson for counsel
The Ten Point Coalition has been invited to Ferguson, Mo., to share its experience in dealing with turmoil on the streets.
2.2 million bean bag chairs recalled
About 2.2 million bean bag chairs are being recalled after two children opened them, crawled inside and suffocated to death.
Fla. man deliberately ends 'pay it forward' line
A Florida man put an end to another "pay it forward" streak at a local Starbucks because he said he thinks people were participating out of…
U.S. Ebola patient: 'Today is a miraculous day'
The hospital treating two Americans brought in with Ebola is expected to talk about their release Thursday.
Teen gets 11 years for carving swastika on boy
An Oregon teenager who carved a swastika into another teen's forehead as he and others tortured the boy has been sentenced to 11 years in prison.