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Starbucks says guns unwelcome, though not banned

NEW YORK (AP) -- Starbucks says guns are no longer welcome in its cafes, though it is stopping short of an outright ban on firearms.

The fine line the Seattle company is walking in addressing the concerns of both gun rights and gun control advocates reflects how heated the issue has become, particularly in light of recent mass shootings.

CEO Howard Schultz says the decision to ask customers to stop bringing guns into stores came as a result of the growing frequency of "Starbucks Appreciation Days," in which gun rights advocates turned up at Starbucks cafes with firearms.

Schultz says the events mischaracterized the company's stance on the issue and the demonstrations "have made our customers uncomfortable."

Schultz hopes people will honor the request not to bring in guns but says the company will nevertheless serve those who do.

AP-WF-09-18-13 0620GMT