Gun advocates nationwide are gathering today at Starbucks in appreciation for allowing patrons to bring firearms — wherever carrying is legal — into their shops, including one in Newtown, CT., the scene of the Sandy Hook school shooting last December
According to the event organizer’s Facebook page, a similar event was held on Valentine’s Day 2012, as a reaction to a boycott of the coffee shops by the Gun Victim’s Action Council to protest the company policy.
According to the Torrington, Ct., Register Citizen, some 2,000 gun owners nationwide have pledged to participate. The article also quotes a posting by Matt Bottali of the Ct. Open Carry Group.
“Yes, folks, it’s true,” wrote Bottali. “I will be at the Newtown Starbucks in Newtown. I might even bring my family to show you how human I am. Come down, meet me and my friends. I guarantee there won’t be a safer public place in all of Connecticut.”
In a statement on its Facebook page, the Newtown Action Alliance, formed after the Sandy Hook shooting, called the planned event “reprehensible.”
“Our community is still healing,” said David Ackert, a spokesman for the Alliance. “We find it reprehensible that they are picking Newtown to rally.”
Starbucks spokesperson Jamie Riley told Digital Journal that the company would not comment specifically on the Newtown rally, but made it clear that the company does not endorse the nationwide event. She said the company recognizes there are "significant and genuine passions" around the issue and urge "both sides to take their input to public officials."
The policy of allowing firearms in their shops will continue wherever legal.
"We will continue to abide by all local laws and statutes," she said.