Target is asking its customers not to bring firearms into its stores even where it is allowed by law. But the retailer is not banning firearms.
In a statement on the retailer's corporate blog, interim CEO John Mulligan said that Target wants a "safe and inviting" atmosphere for its shoppers and employees.
"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.
A Target spokeswoman emphasized this was a request made to customers and not a prohibition, at this time.
The Minneapolis-based retail giant doesn't have any plans to post signs in stores to convey its firearms request, she added.
Target Corp. made the announcement after questions arose in recent weeks about its policy on "open carry" of firearms in its stores.
The company found itself in the middle of a tug of war between gun rights advocates bringing rifles into Target stores and gun control supporters trying to keep the weapons out.
People carrying rifles have been spotted at Target stores in seven states, most notably in Texas.
On Wednesday, one of the key anti-gun groups, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, applauded Target's decision asking customers to leave guns at home.
The group launched a petition drive a month ago that gathered nearly 400,000 signatures.
Target's stock added 53 cents to $58.90 in Wednesday morning trading.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.