Small groups of armed Californians have been turning up at cafes and coffee shops with handguns holstered to their belts to raise awareness about gun rights and what they call unfair limits on concealed weapon permits, reports the Christian Science Monitor. Starbucks has been a favorite spot for open carry groups, prompting the anti-gun violence group the Brady Campaign to launch a petition to convince the coffee chain to ban guns from its shops.
Some Bay Area police departments have expressed concern about the growing open carry movement. Sunnyvale, Ca., Deputy Police Chief Mark Stivers wrote, “To be very frank, I do not like the fact people can carry an unloaded gun in a holster in plain view in public. However the law says they can and we uphold the law.” Nathan Wolanyk, an open-carry advocate from San Diego, says the movement is as much about informing the public as it is about educating police departments who, he says, are often unaware of the unloaded open carry law.