(09/18/13) - The Starbucks CEO is asking customers to leave their guns at home.
In a letter published on the company's website and on social media sites, Howard Schultz says guns are not part of the Starbucks experience and he hopes responsible gun owners will respect this request.
Recently, the national coffee chain says it found itself in a position where advocates on both sides of the country's gun laws were using Starbucks as a staging ground.
Twenty-one-year-old Caleb Bullen considers himself a regular at the Starbucks on the corner of Center and Court in Flint.
"We come here a lot actually," he said. "We like their drinks, we are college students, we need the caffeine."
So when Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz asked customers this week to keep their guns at home, Bullen got on board.
"I don't expect to see people open carry in a coffee shop. It puts people on edge," he said.
Starbucks says its policy has been to abide by local laws - permitting patrons to openly carry a firearm if the state allows it.
"It's not a ban, and the reason it's not a ban is we don't want to put our own people in a position of having to confront somebody who's carrying a weapon," Schultz said. "Starbucks is not a policy maker and in fact we are not pro or anti gun, however we do believe guns should not be part of the Starbucks experience.
James Bur, an avid hunter and gun owner, understands both sides of the argument.
"It's their right to open carry, it's our constitutional right," he said. "As a store owner, he has the right to say no guns in the store, so what's the difference with leaving it in the car for as long as you're in the store? I don't see the big deal."
"I know a lot of people who don't like to see guns in certain places, especially with all the shootings that have happened," Bullen said.
Starbucks says customers who chose to carry a gun will still be served. They will not be asked to leave.
To read the full letter from Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, click HERE.
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