Businesses close doors on gun-toting customers

January 29, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Gun activists who make a point to carry their guns in public are facing stiff resistance. Two major chains have put away the welcome mat for gun-toting customers.

Whenever he can, Walter Stanley of Livermore carries his 9mm semi-automatic. He is part of a growing movement called "Open Carry." Members purposely go out in public to exercise their right to carry a gun as long as it is not loaded.

"We're actually out there trying to help inform our neighbors in the community, to let them know that you can actually exercise this right in the state of California for your own protection," says Stanley.

But making a point does not always come easy. At times, Stanley is stopped and questioned by police as was the case earlier this month during an interview with ABC7. And now, businesses are weighing in. Peet's Coffee & Tea now refuses service to any customer carrying a gun without a uniform.

And so is California Pizza Kitchen, which implemented its policy after finding out Open Carry members had planned to hold a February meeting at its Walnut Creek location.

Its spokesman, Sarah Grover, wrote, "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."

People ABC7 talked to couldn't agree more.

"This isn't Iraq. God bless this country that we live in where we can walk around this country and usually feel safe," says Dusty Broderick, a customer.

Open Carry members say they respect businesses exercising their property rights, but they also say establishments unfriendly to their cause will have to suffer the consequences. Some are talking about boycotts.

"I'm going to take my business elsewhere and I would like all other gun owners to know that as well so they can make their decision on what establishments they choose to give their money," says David LaTour, an Open Carry advocate.

Members of the Open Carry movement are still looking for a venue for their February meeting. They are not worried though. They say despite the new policies from Peet's and CPK, others will want their business.