18 Sep 2013

Starbucks asks US patrons to leave guns at home

9:09 pm on 18 September 2013

Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz has requested the coffee chain's customers leave their firearms at home, shifting company policy amid an increasingly fractious debate over United States gun rights in the wake of multiple mass shootings.

He says more people have been bringing guns into Starbucks over the last six months, prompting confusion and dismay among some patrons and employees.

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 7000 company-operated US stores.

Reuters reports that policy had frustrated US gun-control advocates, who have persuaded many other restaurants and retailers to ban weapons in their stores and worked hard to get Starbucks to follow suit.

But Mr Schultz says the request is not a ban.