SEATTLE, WA -- Gun violence prevention advocates came to Starbucks' annual shareholders meeting today asking shareholders to challenge the company's policy allowing customers to carry guns into its stores.
Representatives of Washington Ceasefire and the Washington State Chapters of the Million Mom March distributed information to shareholders as they entered the meeting at the Marion Carver McCaw Hall at the Seattle Center.
In addition, Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, sent a letter challenging the policy to the ten largest Starbucks institutional investors, noting that the company had allowed the "inherently threatening and intimidating" presence of openly carried guns in its stores. A sample of the letter can be viewed at http://www.bradycampaign.org/xshare/bcam/legislation/open_carry/Letter-to-Starbucks-Shareholders.pdf.
"There are no guns allowed at the Starbucks shareholder meeting," said Mr. Helmke. "There are no guns allowed at the Starbucks headquarters building. Starbucks employees are not allowed to bring guns to work. Why does the company allow customers with guns?"
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"We came out to the meeting today to educate Starbucks shareholders about the dangerous and wrongheaded policy the company has adopted in response to groups of gun-toters coming into coffeehouses," said Heidi Yewman, President of the Washington Million Mom March Chapters. "We told them this policy ought to be changed. And many of them agree with us."
"I'm a proud Washington resident, and I'm proud that this company calls my state its home," said Ralph Fascitelli, President of Washington Ceasefire. "But this policy has turned Starbucks into fodder for the comic strips. The company needs to change its policy."
The famed, nationally syndicated comic strip Doonesbury has focused on Starbucks and guns for the past three days. (http://www.doonesbury.com/strip/dailydose/.)
The Brady Campaign launched a petition online in February, in partnership with CREDO Action, asking Americans to urge Starbucks to bar guns from its stores. So far more than 34,000 have signed. The Brady Campaign has also posted videos related to the Starbucks issue on its
YouTube page. View them at www.youtube.com/bradycampaign#p/a/u/0/aStG6cWyF2Y.
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Washington Ceasefire's website is at http://washingtonceasefire.org/. Information about Washington Million Mom March Chapters is at www.bradycampaign.org/chapters/WA. "Open carry" info is at