LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Amid an ongoing debate regarding guns in America, Starbucks has asked customers not to bring weapons into its stores.

In an open letter on Starbucks.com, CEO Howard Schultz “respectfully requested” patrons no longer bring firearms into the cafés or the outdoor seating areas, even in states where openly carrying a weapon in public is permitted.

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Schultz said while the company’s approach to “open carry” was to follow local laws, recently, pro-gun activists have used the stores as events that misleadingly portray Starbucks as a “champion of open carry.”

Schultz said anti-gun activists have also created tension in the store.

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“We’re not pro- or anti-gun, we just believe that our customers and our people would be much more comfortable if guns are not part of the Starbucks experience,” he said.

Despite the request, guns are not officially banned at Starbucks.

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“We want to give responsible gun owners the chance to respect our request—and also because enforcing a ban would potentially require our partners to confront armed customers, and that is not a role I am comfortable asking Starbucks partners to take on,” Schultz said.