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Businesses & Residents Can Defeat Open Carrying of Guns

Over the past year, gun proponents have accelerated their efforts to normalize abnormal behavior by encouraging more and more gun owners to pack heat in family-friendly locations. That is why it has been especially encouraging to see that in California local businesses are fighting back.

In January, the brazen actions of members from Bay Area Open Carry triggered a 911 call to police when the open carry advocates showed up with firearms strapped to their hips at a Peet’s Coffee & Tea in Livermore. Peet’s has since posted a policy banning customers from openly carrying in their establishment.

Following on the heels of Peet’s swift response, open carry advocates cancelled a February 6th planned gathering at California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) after CPK’s communications department sprung into action by releasing the following statement:

CPK does not allow guests other than uniformed officers to display firearms in our restaurants. CPK is a family oriented restaurant and the comfort and well being of our guests is a top priority. We are concerned that the open display of firearms would be particularly disturbing to children and their parents.

The same open carry extremists are now testing the waters at the local Starbucks.

The swift actions by Peet’s and California Pizza Kitchen provide an effective blueprint for stopping the gun lobby’s dangerous agenda in its tracks and helps us to raise the alarm that the gun lobby’s agenda is bad for families, bad for communities and even bad for businesses.

The real world implications of carrying guns in public are chilling. Consider:

-- Sipping hot chocolate with your toddler at Starbucks while a fellow patron openly displays a loaded gun at the table next to you;
-- Attending a child’s birthday party at an Outback Steakhouse restaurant when you notice two men walking through the restaurant with guns on their hips;
-- Shopping at the local Walmart when an argument breaks out among two patrons, one of whom has a weapon attached to his belt.

Unless this is the kind of world you want for you and your children, we need to support local businesses like Peet’s and California Pizza Kitchen for taking a stand. We need to rally together, stand firm and voice our outrage over the gun lobby’s extremist agenda.

We also need to demand that the over 40 states that allow some form of open and concealed carry in public places repeal these reckless laws. Afterall, allowing a small group of armed gun owners—versus trained law enforcement officers—­­to make potentially life and death decisions about where and when to use a gun in public places like restaurants, playgrounds, theaters and parks is a frightening prospect.

The gun lobby likes to pretend that only law abiding citizens obtain permits to carry and that openly carrying guns in public locations like Starbucks makes us all safer. What they fail to mention are the numerous shootings that take place each year by legal gun permit holders like George Sodini, a systems analyst at a law firm, who shot and killed 3 women at fitness center in Pennsylvania in 2009.

Despite this fact, the gun lobby will persist in their campaign to arm more people and fill our communities with more guns…no matter the cost to society or to our nation’s sense of safety and well being. That’s why communities across the country must take a firm stand.

We urge you to voice your outrage if an open carry event comes to a location near you. Call your legislators, your friends, local businesses and the local newspaper and let them know that guns do not belong in public places. This is a cause worth fighting for and there is much we can do together to stop the gun lobby’s deadly agenda.


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