Group calling for weapons ban at Starbucks locations

Group calling for weapons ban at Starbucks locations
SEATTLE -- An anti-gun group is urging Starbucks to ban weapons at all of its retail locations.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence claims allowing open carrying of guns inside the coffee shops "is intimidating and could be potentially dangerous to our families and communities."

In an attempt to urge Starbucks to adopt a weapons ban, the group has launched a petition campaign.

"These individuals who have been carrying guns into Starbucks have all the firepower of a SWAT team, and none of the law enforcement training," the petition states.

Earlier this month, the group's president Paul Helmke sent a letter to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, claiming there has been a "growing frequency" of gun owners openly carrying guns in public places, especially in California, where open carry weapons are legal as long as they are unloaded and holstered.

"These gatherings of armed individuals have provoked a strong and adverse reaction from members of the public who are appalled that coffee shops and restaurants would allow guns on their premises," Helmke wrote.

The letter urges Starbucks to join two other companies, Peet's Coffee & Tea and California Pizza Kitchen, which have adopted a no-weapons policy at their retail outlets. Uniformed officers are exempted from the ban.

Starbucks, in a written statement, said, "For Starbucks, the safety of our customers and partners is our paramount concern. We have existing security protocols in place to handle situations related to safety in our stores. We will continue to adhere closely to local, state and federal laws and the counsel of law enforcement regarding this issue."