Starbucks changes course, asks U.S. patrons to leave guns at home
NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Starbucks Corp Chief Executive Howard Schultz requested on Tuesday that the coffee chain's customers leave their firearms at home, shifting company policy amid an increasingly fractious debate over U.S. gun rights in the wake of multiple mass shootings.
The request is being made in part because more people have been bringing guns into Starbucks over the last six months, prompting confusion and dismay among some patrons and employees, Schultz told Reuters in an interview.
In an open letter to customers issued late Tuesday, the chief executive said: "Our stores exist to give every customer a safe and comfortable respite from the concerns of daily life."
Starbucks' long-standing policy had been to default to local gun laws, including "open carry" regulations that allow people to bring guns into stores. It has nearly 7,000 company-operated U.S. stores.