Guns & Lattes

While Starbucks permits patrons to openly carry guns in the 43 states that allow such laws, we are happy to report that
BJ’s Restaurants joins California Pizza kitchen in banning open carrying of long guns in their establishments. The open carrying of handguns was banned in California as of January 1, 2012, with the passage and signing of AB 144. However, the corporate policy of Starbucks has remained the same, allowing patrons to have their coffee while armed.

In reaction to the enactment of AB 144, Open Carry organizations across California began hosting open carry events brandishing rifles and shotguns in place of the now illegal handguns. In at least one instance, they showed up at a police fundraiser wielding unloaded rifles.

The following is excerpted from a letter by Jerry Deitchle, Chairman and CEO of BJ’s Restaurants to Dallas Stout, California Brady President and Karen Arntzen, California Chapter Advocacy Coordinator:

“Please also be assured that the safety of our guests and team members is our highest concern here at BJ’s. We do not allow our team members to bring firearms, weapons, illegal drugs or other banned items or substances into our restaurants. We don’t want our guests to bring such items into our restaurants, either. As you correctly pointed out, the accidental discharge of a firearm in a public place can cause significant damage to humans and property. We definitely want to avoid that risk.”
–Jerry Deitchle Chairman and CEO of BJ’s Restaurants

Open Carriers brought their long guns to an Occupy Protest (where they had previously been asked to leave) at Concord, California’s Todos Santos Park, December 17, from 12 to 1 pm. From their website it appeared they were attempting to “police” the protesters’ behavior by “protecting ourselves and our community in case of riots. We do not need civil unrest conducted in our communities which hurts small business even though we encourage free speech.” The California Brady Campaign is urging people for their own safety to stay away from any location where the Open Carry meet-ups are taking place. Brady will warn the community upon hearing of planned meet-ups. These individuals openly carrying long guns are protesting the signing of AB 144. However, this vigilante effort could lead to clashes resulting in accidental or intentional shootings.

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