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Starbucks CEO to customers: No guns in stores ... please

In a letter to customers, Starbucks Corp.'s chief executive said he is "respectfully requesting" that customers not bring guns into his stores.

The letter by Howard Schultz comes two days after Aaron Alexis, a Navy contractor, killed 12 people in a two-hour rampage at the Washington Navy Yard.

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Schultz said that he is not outright banning guns from his stores, partly "because enforcing a ban would potentially require our partners to confront armed customers." 

Over the last few years, Schultz said that customers have misleadingly used Starbucks stores as sites for gun rights activism -- actions he said disingenuously suggest that Starbucks is a "champion of 'open carry' laws."

These demonstrations, both for gun rights and gun control, have at times caused confrontations at his ubiquitous coffee shops.

"To be clear: we do not want these events in our stores," he said. "Some anti-gun activists have also played a role in ratcheting up the rhetoric and friction, including soliciting and confronting our customers and partners."

Schultz said that the company's policy on "open carry" laws has been to allow guns in stores located in states were this type of legislation is in place. In states without "open carry" laws, guns are not permitted.

"We have chosen this approach because we believe our store partners should not be put in the uncomfortable position of requiring customers to disarm or leave our stores," he wrote.

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ricardo.lopez@latimes.com

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