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SEATTLE - The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is launching a petition campaign to convince coffee giant Starbucks to ban guns in its stores across the country.

We urge Starbucks to respect the rights of the vast majority of its customers, who seek to take their families into its stores without facing the intimidating presence of openly carried guns, said Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign.

Two weeks ago, after gun enthusiasts began targeting California restaurants for meetings, carrying their handguns out in the open, executives with Peet s Coffee and Tea and California Pizza Kitchen announced they would exercise their private property right to prohibit the open carry of guns in retail locations. Concerned citizens in California started urging a third chain, Starbucks, to similarly prohibit the open carry of firearms in its retail establishments, but Starbucks rebuffed their requests, according to the Brady Campaign.

Meantime, gun advocates are urging gun owners to frequent Starbucks stores and carry their weapons if they so please. John Pierce, co-founder of OpenCarry.org, says he applauds the company's policy to serve all lawful gun carriers worldwide.

It is refreshing to see yet one more company not requiring law abiding gun owners to go to the back of the bus, says Pierce. Importantly, Starbucks joins most American corporations in deciding not to discriminate against lawful gun carriers.

Starbucks has responded only with a written statement saying, The safety of our customers and partners is a 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.

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