Starbucks says guns are no longer welcome in its cafes, though it is stopping short of an outright ban, reports the Associated Press. The fine line the retailer is walking to address the concerns of both gun rights and gun control advocates reflects how heated the issue has become, particularly in light of recent mass shootings. Most states allow people to carry licensed guns and many companies do not have policies banning firearms in their stores.
Starbucks has become a target for gun control advocates, in part because of its liberal-leaning corporate image. Gun rights advocates have been galvanized by the company’s decision to defer to local laws. CEO Howard Schultz tells AP the decision to ask customers to stop bringing guns into stores resulted from the growing frequency of “Starbucks Appreciation Days” in which gun rights advocates turn up at Starbucks cafes with firearms. Last month, the company closed down a store in Newtown, Ct., for the day after learning that gun rights advocates planned a “Starbucks Appreciation Day” there. The store was near the school where a gunman killed 20 children and six women.