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Starbucks CEO Asks For Customers To Not Bring Guns Into Stores, Please

Flickr user David Trawin (trawin)

The head of Starbucks is taking on a policy request at his stores nationwide by asking customers to not bring their guns onto store property.

In response to the mass shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., Schultz said in an open letter that his company is about building community and providing a comfortable environment for everyone.

"Our stores exist to give every customer a safe and comfortable respite from the concerns of daily life," he writes in the letter.

Schultz stopped short of calling for an outright ban of firearms at his stores. Instead, he wrote that he respectfully asks that people leave their guns at home.

Currently, customers may bring their guns with them in states where it is legal, either openly or carrying them concealed, as law permits. But he wrote that in some cases, the debate on gun control is becoming threatening.

"We are respectfully requesting that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas,” he wrote.

An outright ban would go too far, he wrote, because he doesn't want his employees to confront armed customers. He also said he wanted to give responsible gun owners the chance to respect his request.

He hopes Starbucks can be a third place between home and work for people to come and feel safe, and wants his customers to feel relaxed and comfortable.

"The presence of a weapon in our stores is unsettling and upsetting for many of our customers," he wrote. "Whatever your view, I encourage you to be responsible and respectful of each other as citizens and neighbors."

Many people responded to the open letter online and said they'd be taking their business elsewhere, claiming the letter is a ban and not simply a request. Others applaud the move.

Starbucks officials said the open letter will be running in major newspapers like the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal on Thursday morning.

Ryan Loyd was Texas Public Radio's city beat and political reporter. He left the organization in December, 2014.