The Scavenger : Peet's and CPK tell Open Carry customers: No guns allowed
Open Carry gun advocates in the Bay Area are easy to spot. With unloaded firearms strapped to their sides, they meet at coffee shops and other places to protest exercise their right to bear arms, drawing plenty of attention from the media, cops and bystanders along the way. A group of proponents converged at a local Starbucks in November. Earlier this month, members of Bay Area Open Carry gathered at a Peet's Coffee & Tea in Livermore, triggering a 911 call. Cops responded and frisked one man during his interview with ABC7 (see video below). And last week's meeting at the Peet's in San Ramon caused quite a stir among customers who both disapproved and praised the heat-packing patrons, according to The Oakland Tribune.
Days after the San Ramon confab, a TV station in Sacramento discovered that a local Peet's posted a policy banning customers from openly carrying guns. A company spokesperson confirmed the rule in an email to The Scavenger:
While Peet's Coffee & Tea respects and values all individuals' rights under local, state and federal laws, our policy is not to allow customers carrying firearms in our stores or on our outdoor seating premises unless they are uniformed or identified law enforcement officers. Like most other private businesses, particularly retail establishments, we believe this policy is in the best interests of all of our customers, regardless of their personal beliefs. In no way does this policy conflict with or discriminate under the law, and it does not take a position on the law.
Meanwhile, a planned Feb. 6 meeting at the California Pizza Kitchen in Walnut Creek was nipped in the bud by CPK's crackdown. Sarah Grover, Chief Communications Officer of the LA-based company, sent us this 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 policies didn't exactly go over well with Open Carry proponents. On an online forum, they called for boycotts of Peet's and CPK. Someone even posted a protest sign (right).
Open Carry rules vary from state to state. In California, an open carrier's firearm must be unloaded and holstered. The ammo must be kept separate from the gun. Cops are allowed to inspect the weapon but cannot search for the gun's serial number. And as one recently San Jose man discovered, it is illegal to possess a gun within 1,000 feet of any public or private school.