A popular coffee shop chain is asking gun owners to leave their weapons outside of its shops.
In a media interview, Starbucks (SBUX) CEO Howard Schultz said the chain is taking the step after gun rights advocates began holding “Starbucks Appreciation Days” at its locations, bringing their guns with them. The company is not banning firearms in its shops and Schultz says that people who carry licensed firearms in accordance with the law will still be served, the Associated Press notes.
The company will purchase ads in a number of prominent newspapers in which Schultz will explain his request. Schultz notes that Starbucks has been “thrust unwillingly” into the battle over guns by both gun control and gun rights advocates.
In August, Starbucks closed its Newtown, Conn., shop in order to prevent Second Amendment enthusiasts from holding an event on the premises. Last year a gunman killed 26 people, including 20 children at a Newtown school.
The ads will make it clear that Starbucks does not want such events held in its shops.
Starbucks has declined to ban licensed weapons in its shops, despite pressure from gun control groups.
Shares of Starbucks fell slightly in Wednesday morning trading.