Starbucks was to be a place for pro-gun advocates to meet on Friday, but the Newtown store closed early so as to avoid controversy.
Friday was "Starbucks Appreciation Day" for gun advocates, and many planned to meet in stores nationwide to celebrate the coffee company's policy of allowing patrons to bring guns into their stores.
Groups had been meeting at Starbucks for years, but this year the coffee giant was facing backlash.
"Think about what you're doing to these families who have already lost children," Newtown native Christina Bennett said.
"What happened in Newtown doesn't have anything to do with this, and it just doesn't seem fair that they're bringing it up again and making us re-live it all over again," she said.
Starbucks was not a sponsor of the event, and does not encourage guns in its stores, but it doesn't ban them, either.
In a statement, Starbucks said, "We appreciate that our customers share diverse points of view on issues that matter to them. We also believe in being sensitive to each community we serve."
"Today, advocacy groups from different sides of the open carry debate announced plans to visit our Newtown, Connecticut store to bring attention to their point of view."
"We recognize that there is significant and genuine passion surrounding this topic, however out of respect for Newtown and everything the community has been through, we decided to close our store early before the event started."
"Our long-standing approach to this topic has been to comply with local laws and statutes in the communities we serve."
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