Back in January, we started hearing about members of Open Carry. Locally, this consists of a loosely organized Bay Area-based group that advocates the open display of firearms--that is, the display of unloaded firearms, as allowed by state law.
OpenCarry.org (which displays the photo shown here on its website) describes itself as "a pro-gun Internet community focused on the right to openly carry properly holstered handguns in daily American life." Open Carry demonstrations, which consist of people striding around in public places with their unloaded guns and ammunition clips strapped to their belts, have been popping up around the country for the past couple years.
There was a demonstration at a Livermore coffee shop in January. Then, Open Carry members came to Walnut Creek on February 6. They thought about meeting up at California Pizza Kitchen in Broadway Plaza, but CPK said they would prefer that these gun-toting guys go elsewhere. The Open Carry members received permission from Buckhorn Grill in Plaza Escuela, and about 100 Open Carry members, and their families, showed up...
The media, including yours truly, was there.
Buckhorn Grill later sent out an e-mail to customers, apologizing for their decision to welcome the Open Carry members.
Peet's Coffee and Tea also said no to Open Carry members--but not Starbucks. In fact, Starbucks has won many fans on the Open Carry side of the debate for its corporate policy, which effectively allows Open Carry members to wear their guns in their stores.
According to an Associated Press story, published Tuesday:
"Even in some 'open carry' states, businesses are allowed to ban guns in their stores. And some have, creating political confrontations with gun owners. But Starbucks, the largest chain targeted, has refused to take the bait, saying in a statement this month that it follows state and local laws and has its own safety measures in its stores."
This story depicts an Open Carry member walking into a Starbucks in Virginia, "handgun strapped to his waist," and ordering "a banana Frappuccino with a cinammon bun."
This story goes on to point out that the fight for retailers' support nationally heated up in January when "gun enthusiasts in Northern California began walking into Starbucks and other businesses. ... As it spread to other states, gun control groups quickly complained about the parade of firearms in local stores.
But Starbucks' choice to serve Open Carry guys is attracting fierce opposition by gun control groups. Among groups fighting the Open Cary cause is the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. According to the AP, the Brady Campaign has circulated a petition that attracted 26,000 signatures demanding that Starbucks "offer espress shots, not gunshots" and declare its coffeehouses "gun-free zones."