JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

If you like going to Starbucks and usually carry a gun, the coffee chain is now asking you leave it at home or in the car.

The coffee chain said guns are no longer welcome in its cafes.

Starbucks knows it can't ban people from bringing firearms into its cafes and said it will continue serving people who do bring them in, but it's asking you to honor its request.

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz released a letter, saying more people have been bringing guns into Starbucks over the last six months, bringing confusion and dismay among some patrons and employees.

Starbucks' longstanding policy had been to obey local gun laws, including "open carry" regulations that allow people to bring guns into stores but that policy frustrated US gun-control advocates especially after recent mass shootings. Schultz says he knows some people will oppose, but said he's not worried about losing customers.

In the letter, Schultz stated, "For those who oppose "open carry," we believe the legislative and policy-making process is the proper arena for this debate, not our stores. For those who champion "open carry," please respect that Starbucks stores are places where everyone should feel relaxed and comfortable. The presence of a weapon in our stores is unsettling and upsetting for many of our customers."

This request does not apply to authorized law enforcement personnel.

Starbucks plans to buy ad space in major national newspapers Thursday, to run an open letter from the CEO explaining the decision.