Community supports ETX coffee shop's stance on guns - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Community supports ETX coffee shop's stance on guns

MINEOLA, TX (KLTV) -

An East Texas coffee shop is overwhelmed with the support they got Thursday night for their stance on guns.

The Mineola coffee shop has new signs on their door, walls and counter, making sure that the people inside know their firearms are just as welcome as they are.

"If you have a lawful carry permit, we're going to welcome you here. We're not going to fear you. We don't want our customers to fear you," says Henry's House of Java manager Tammi Williams.

Henry's House of Java in Mineola made their stance on firearms very clear after Starbucks announced they do not want their customers bringing handguns into their stores. Once word about their stance spread, people stopped by to thank them.

"We had actually closed at 4 o'clock and people were lining up at the door so we went ahead and reopened and as you can tell we've still got people here. Everybody was being very supportive, I mean, thanking us for putting the sign on the door and we just wanted to let people know we support them," says Williams.

"It makes me feel like it's a safe place to bring my son or the rest of my family. I get to choose whether I want to defend myself or run away," says customer Neal Duncan.

"I think people saw this as an opportunity to rally around and say yes, we are for the second amendment, we are for the rights of law abiding citizens. This is a neat opportunity to support a local business and make a statement about our constitutional rights while we're at it," says District 5 State Representative Bryan Hughes.

The Starbucks CEO says their employees won't ask customers carrying guns to leave, but they'd like them to leave the guns at home or in their cars. 

"Well, I think it's very important just to start the conversation by framing the fact that Starbucks is not a policy maker, and in fact, we are not pro- or anti-gun. However, we do believe that guns should not be part of the Starbucks experience," Schultz told CNN.

"We have a lot of political discussion here at the coffee shop, as you can imagine, and the second amendment has always been a topic," says Williams, "A lot of discussion has been, you know, 'Are you scared that you're going to open up the door to people coming in just to harm someone?' and unfortunately, as we all know, you don't need a permit to do that."

The signs say that the coffee shop recognizes the God-given right to self defense and that they support and encourage the lawful carry of concealed weapons.

"The important thing is to be a responsible gun owner. That's the most important thing," says Williams.

She says the coffee shop only got one negative comment Thursday about their new signs.

Starbucks says their policy change is not a ban as much as it's a request. They say they'll still serve people who may be carrying concealed handguns in their stores. The CEO also says his personal views on guns did not factor into the company's decision.

Copyright 2013 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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