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Gun owners wear their guns to Starbucks to show love of guns and coffee

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CHANTILLY, Va. -

The gun debate spilled across the barista counters of some northern Virginia Starbucks coffee shops Friday.

Gun rights activists were making a somewhat startling show of force.

Their message is simple: we love guns and coffee - especially where it's legal to openly carry firearms.

It's a Beretta," says gun owner Crystal Fox, one of more than a dozen men and women hanging out at the Starbucks in Chantilly Friday. "9 millimeter. Everyone's big on having their free speech and stuff. Second Amendment makes sure you have your First Amendment."

They're patronizing Starbucks for being neutral in the gun control debate.

And they were: men and women sharing conversation and displaying their holstered handguns openly in compliance with Virginia law.

"This is probably the safest location in Virginia right now by having 15 trained gun owners in there having a cup of coffee," says gun rights advocate Ed Levine who spearheaded the Open Carry event.

They picked Friday, February 22nd (2/22) because of the twos - signifying the Second Amendment.

"Congress and our president are trying to take our rights away," says gun owner Melanie Clifford. "So I think it's important we come out today and make this statement."

That's not to say everybody agrees with what they're doing and the point they're making.

"I believe that if everybody's entitled to have a gun then we're back to the wild wild west," says Starbucks customer Beatrice Mines.

"If someone has a gun in Starbucks it wouldn't stop me from going in unless I saw somebody acting irresponsibly with it," says Ann Vinnacombe. "Then I wouldn't go in."

In a statement to Fox 5 News, a Starbucks spokesman wrote: Our long-standing approach to this topic is to comply with local laws in the communities we serve, including abiding by the laws that permit open carry. We are extremely sensitive to the issue of gun violence in our society and believe that supporting local laws is the right way for us to ensure a safe environment for both our employees and customers."

Virginia law allows anybody 18 and older who can legally own a firearm to carry it openly.

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