Californians Packing Guns at Starbucks

'Open Carry' backers grab coffee, tea and a .43.
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 1, 2010 2:57 AM CST
Updated Mar 1, 2010 5:00 AM CST
Californians Packing Guns at Starbucks
Want some lead with that caffeine?   (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

A growing number of gun rights supporters in Northern California are making a frightening point by packing guns in places like Starbucks. The members of the Bay Area Open Carry Movement sport guns in holsters reminiscent of the Old West. Luckily, they're not loaded, so the guns are in full compliance with state law, but that's not making other customers feel secure. “You can have a functioning loaded weapon in two seconds,” boasted one college student who carries plenty of ammo and has been packing a gun on his hip for about a month.

"I like the visual deterrent," he explains to the Christian Science Monitor. After members of the group met recently at Peet's Coffee and California Pizza, both establishments banned weapons. But Starbucks, with no restrictions, has been a favorite gathering spot for the gun advocates. Members of the anti-violence group the Brady Campaign has launched a petition calling on Starbucks to ban guns, but the coffee chain has yet to respond. One police chief said he doesn't like people carrying guns in full public view, but he must uphold the law.
(More gun rights advocates stories.)

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