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Target ‘requests’ that ‘guests’ not carry guns

Lawsuit exposes secrets of Spring Grove religious group; investigation of Nienstedt takes parishioners and priests by surprise; magazine recalls Nienstedt’s writing on same-sex marriage last year; and more.

MinnPost photo by Rita Kovtun

But how… how …  will the Second Amendment crowd ever feel safe in the aisles of Target without their rifles? Says Reed Epstein of the Wall Street Journal on Target asking “guests” not bring their guns in to shop for flip-flops and kiddie T-shirts. “Target Corp. on Wednesday said it would ask customers to no longer carry guns in its stores, bowing to a month-long pressure campaign. The U.S. department-store chain said it would ‘respectfully request’ that customers not bring guns into its stores, ‘even in communities where it is permitted by law’. … ‘Our leadership team has been weighing this complex issue and been listening carefully to the nuances,’ [Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder] said. ‘Today, we shared our position with our team and, subsequently, our guests’.” Public statements don’t much more densely “corporate” than that.

Briana Sacks of the Los Angeles Times notes that the phraseology is “request” not “prohibit.” “Target is not banning shoppers from carting firearms through its stores, as many news outlets are reporting. ‘This is a request and not a prohibition,’ said Molly Snyder, a group manager from Target’s public relations department. … More than 400,000 people signed the petition to prohibit Target shoppers from carrying guns.”

At Mother Jones Mark Follman writes, “Still reeling from its disastrous failure to secure customers’ personal data, Target leaders ‘were really nervous’ after the gun issue emerged, a person with direct knowledge of the company’s discussions about it told me. ‘This was the last thing they needed.’ Still, the company endured weeks of negative attention on the issue, even as Texas authorities and one of Target’s corporate strategic partners made clear that Target was trying to stop the guns from coming in.”

For The Guardian, Ed Pilkington says, “Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, welcomed Target’s shift in policy. ‘Such positive safety changes made by some of our country’s leading retailers are proof of the influence of women and mothers. As we look toward election season, we hope our legislators are taking notice that when woman and mothers collectively raise our voices – and soon cast our votes, we are determined to leave an impact.’ ” She’s on to something, there.

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Meanwhile, down in Texas … Robert Wilonsky of the Dallas Morning News says, “Open Carry Texas, of course, is very disappointed and has posted this response on its Facebook page. ‘While this is not a ban on legally possessed firearms in its stores, we will continue to honor our months long policy of not taking long arms into Target stores or any other business. Time and time again, businesses that have asked guests not to bring legally possessed, self defense firearms into their establishments have seen their employees and customers victimized by criminals preying on the openly defenseless.’ ” Really? “Time and time again”? Exactly how often have the “toters” stopped a violent assault in a Target, any Target?

Locally, Kavita Kumar says in the Strib, “Some gun rights activists emphasized though that Target is not banning guns. The ‘policy will have no practical impact,’ Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance, a Minnesota group, said in a statement. It also said the mom’s group gets financial backing from Michael Bloomberg, the media billionaire and former New York mayor who campaigned for stiffer gun laws and started a group called Mayors Against Illegal Guns. ‘Target is trying to have it both ways,’ Joseph Olson, the group’s founder, said in the statement. ‘They want to stop Bloomberg’s social media attacks, but they don’t want to alienate millions of Target customers who legally carry, so they call it a ‘request,’ one that carries no enforcement.’ 

Practically a weekly occurrence. Liz Collin of WCCO-TV reports, “A lawsuit has exposed deep-seated secrets surrounding a religious group in southern Minnesota. For 35 years, Suzanne and Karl Solum were members of a Christian ministry called Maranatha in Spring Grove, Minn. They pooled all their money with everyone else in the group but when they left six years ago, they wanted their share and sued. In a Houston County courtroom in June, they testified about decades of control, abuse, and deceit from the man known as the group’s shepherd.” … who I’m willing to bet has full tax exemption.

These folks too, were just so … so … surprised … . Madeleine Baran of MPR reports, “The revelations of a secret investigation [into Archbishop John Nienstedt] took parishioners and priests by surprise. For months, the archdiocese has pledged transparency and accountability as it struggles to respond to an MPR News investigation that found church leaders failed to report alleged sex crimes to police, gave secret payments to abusive clergy and did not warn parishioners of a priest’s sexual misconduct. One of Nienstedt’s longtime critics, the Rev. Mike Tegeder, of Minneapolis, said he was saddened to learn of the investigation. Tegeder said he doesn’t understand why Nienstedt decided to remain in ministry during the private investigation.”

The gay-oriented magazine, On Top adds this to the Nienstedt news. “Nienstedt played a key role in Minnesota’s marriage equality debate, calling such unions the Devil’s handiwork. ‘Today many evil forces have set their sights on the dissolution of marriage and the debasing of family life,’ Nienstedt wrote in an op-ed published in Legatus Magazine. ‘Sodomy, abortion, contraception, pornography, the redefinition of marriage, and the denial of objective truth are just some of the forces threatening the stability of our civilization. The source of these machinations is none other than the Father of Lies. Satan knows all too well the value that the family contributes to the fabric of a good solid society, as well as the future of God’s work on earth.’ ”