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Anti-gun group wants Starbucks to prohibit customers from openly carrying guns in its California stores

February 5, 2010 |  3:00 pm

An anti-gun group has launched an effort to urge Starbucks to prohibit customers from openly carrying guns in its California coffee shops.

The move comes in response to what officials with the Washington-based Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence said are recent brazen displays of handguns by gun enthusiasts at several California stores, which have frightened some customers and alarmed law enforcement officials.

“We think Starbucks should adopt a national policy not to allow guns to be openly carried at its stores,” said Peter Hamm, a spokesman for the Brady Campaign. “There have been a number of meetings of 'open carry' advocates at Starbucks.”

He said gun enthusiasts were intentionally targeting Starbucks coffee shops for their meetings and openly carrying their weapons strapped to their hips.

 "People tend to be unnerved by it,” Hamm said. “It makes them uncomfortable to see a group of men come into stores carrying firearms.”

In response to the gatherings, companies such as Peet's Coffee & Tea and California Pizza Kitchen have prohibited customers from openly carrying guns in their stores, Hamm said.

The Brady Campaign is encouraging Starbucks to follow suit and sent a letter Friday to the coffee giant's chairman and CEO, Howard Schultz, “asking him to change their policy,” Hamm said.

Representatives from Starbucks could not immediately be reached for comment.

-- Ann M. Simmons