Controversy brewing

A screen capture from a Facebook profile of a gun owners group.

A screen capture from a Facebook profile of a gun owners group.

An organized effort by gun owners to display their weapons at Starbucks locations across the nation Friday in a show of solidarity for Second Amendment rights has struck a nerve in Newtown.

The Newtown Action Alliance, an advocacy group formed in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, is calling on would-be demonstrators to stand down.

“We are discouraging gun rights groups from holding ‘Starbucks Appreciation Day’ in Newtown tomorrow,” said David Ackert, a spokesman for the alliance. “Our community is still healing and we find it reprehensible that they are picking Newtown to rally. It is disturbing to think that tomorrow night you and your children may be sitting in Starbucks when people carrying guns walk through the door.”

A Starbucks Appreciation Day page on Facebook shows the coffee chain’s iconic mermaid holding a pair of handguns. It encourages gun owners to exercise their rights to carry their weapons into Starbucks, which has come under fire for refusing to ban weapons from its coffee houses.

Newtown is home to one Starbucks location at 34 Church Hill Road, which served as an unofficial media work center in the days after the shooting of 20 children and six educators. The franchise is in close proximity to St. Rose of Lima Church, which hosted a prayer vigil the night of the Dec. 14 massacre and multiple funerals for the victims.

Neil Vigdor