Open Carry confusion sparks online debate

Published: Sep. 8, 2015 at 2:14 AM CDT|Updated: Nov. 7, 2015 at 3:14 AM CST
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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - They've been the center of debates for decades - guns. Specifically carrying them out in the open, and just this week, a local incident is sparking some debate online.

Troy Mercer says when he went into Target over the weekend, he carried his gun on his hip. The way he says he protects his family. When the store manager asked him to leave the firearm in his vehicle, Mercer took to social media saying employees quote "came up to me like I've done something wrong." He says his family will be taking their business elsewhere.

As Sheriff Tony Mancuso has said before the law may say open carry, but that's not the final say.

"Yes, technically it's legal, but there are a lot of restrictions in a lot of places," said Mancuso.

Mercer says he always checks the exterior of a store before entering, but says there are no signs at Target prohibiting guns. However, according to the law, those stickers or signs are not necessary.

Target does have it's policy on it's website. It states the store follows local gun laws, but does "request that guests not bring firearms to Target."

"They have the right to not serve you if you choose to carry a gun," said Mancuso.

We reached out to the store's manager who said if the gun makes other guests uncomfortable, they will ask the owner to leave it in a vehicle, or if necessary ask the gun owner to leave.

"If they call us and say hey this guy's got a gun, he's in our store, we want him out, we're going to come tell you to leave," Mancuso explained.

It's in these incidents, where a store owner's rights trump a gun owner's rights. It may confuse some, even cause heated debates, but Mancuso says it straight forward.

"You have the right to carry, but you don't have the right necessarily to carry in their facility," said Mancuso.