Playskool makes a wide variety of fun and adorable products, but they don’t make a 9mm Lugar pistol. Yet a Target employee found a loaded gun sitting out in the toy department last Friday, and want the public’s help to find a man who was in the toy department acting in a suspicious manner around the time that the gun was left behind.
“I don’t think someone would accidentally drop off a gun. I think he purposely left it there for a child to pick up,” one shopper told TV station WMBF.
A local firearms instructor pointed out that this incident shows why children should be instructed in the basics of gun safety early on: namely, that if they see a gun sitting out, they should not touch it, leave the area, and tell an adult.
At the Myrtle Beach Target store, a loss prevention officer spotted the gun, not a child. He reportedly thought it was a toy until he noticed that it was loaded.
In a statement to the TV station, a Target spokesperson said:
The safety and security of our team members and guests is a top priority for Target. We take these matters very seriously and we are partnering with local law enforcement on this incident. Because this matter is under active investigation, we are unable to share additional information.
The subject of Target and guns has been in the news this week in another part of the country, as the retailer has been part of a conflict between groups that are for and that are against the normalization of adults openly carrying firearms, including rifles, in public. Tens of thousands of people have signed online petitions asking Target to ban guns from their stores, following similar controversies at Chipotle and Starbucks. It’s worth noting that the incident in Myrtle Beach happened last week, before these petitions made national news.
The leadership of Open Carry Texas, one of the groups behind the demonstrations, says that it asked members to stop carrying long firearms into retail establishments like Target and Walmart. The sight of a person with a large rifle in the baby section of Target is “distracting from [their] mission,” the group’s president said yesterday.