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Virginia gun owners and gun-control activists plan opposing protests

This weekend is shaping up to be a big one in America's long-running battle over guns.

The victims of the Virginia-Tech and Columbine High School massacres will be joining forces in a national protest against Starbucks' corporate policy of allowing lawfully armed gun owners to carry their weapons in its coffee shops.

Abby Spangler, the founder of an gun-control organization called Protest Easy Guns, said in an email Wednesday that the protests planned for Saturday in Blacksburg and Sunday in Denver are meant to coincide with the anniversaries of two of the worst gun massacres in American history.

April 16 marks the third year since 32 people were killed at Virginia Tech, in what is the largest mass shooting in U.S. history. April 20 will be the 11th anniversary of the rampage that took 13 lives in the suburban Denver high school.

On the other side, gun-rights supporters are finalizing plans for a Second Amendment March in Washington, D.C. this Monday to make the case that guns save lives. Among the groups chartering buses for the demonstration are Virginia's Citizens Defense League, a grass-roots organization that promotes the right of law-abiding citizens to carry firearms in public.

(But not Monday. Organizers have also been busy reminding participants that the District's strict regulations on firearms prohibit private citizens from carrying them. They do plan to carry weapons openly where it is permitted, such as Fort Hunt Park in Virginia.)

Among those caught in the crossfire is Starbucks, which has said its coffee shops will comply with state and local regulations on gun possession. Gun owners are fine with that, because it means that they can keep their Glocks with them while sipping a latte.

But gun-control groups say private companies have the right to prohibit firearms on their premises and have urged Starbucks to do so, saying firearms clash with the contemplative culture of the ubiquitous coffee shops. Both anti-gunners and pro-gunners have let their feelings be known in protests around the country recently.

The gun-control folks plan to demonstrate at the Starbucks Kent Square store on Main Street at 11 a.m. on Saturday in Blacksburg and at a Starbucks at 6th and Grant in Denver on Sunday at 12:30 p.m.

The gun-rights crowd will gather at 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday near the Washington Monument.

--Fredrick Kunkle

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By Fredrick Kunkle  |  April 14, 2010; 6:52 PM ET
Categories:  Fredrick Kunkle  | Tags: Gun Control, Gun politics, Pro-Gun Rights, Starbucks  
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Another good reason for not drinking at Starbuck's. I'm all for responsible gun ownership, but the protest rally and Starbucks attitude is childish.

Posted by: glenglish | April 17, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

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