Is Starbucks going Anti-Gun?

Guns and Coffee IMG_8505In an open letter from CEO Howard Schultz on Starbucks’ website, Shultz asks:

“…today we are respectfully requesting that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas—even in states where “open carry” is permitted—unless they are authorized law enforcement personnel.”

Shultz cites growing tension between the pro and anti-gun groups as well as a long standing desire just to be left out of the argument.

Interestingly enough the open letter emphasized that the request is just that, a request. Guns are not being “banned” from Starbucks. However Schultz is asking that as responsibly gun owners we make our own decisions as to what is right.

“..this is a request and not an outright ban. Why? Because we want to give responsible gun owners the chance to respect our request—and also because enforcing a ban would potentially require our partners to confront armed customers, and that is not a role I am comfortable asking Starbucks partners to take on”

While I disagree with Starbucks decision, I have to applaud the way that they have gone about it. While there is no doubt that anti-gun groups will chalk this one up as a victory, we know better. The request seems to be aimed at appeasement rather than changing policy.

So how does this effect you? So far as we can tell no signage has been posted in any Starbucks store. Additionally a photo of an internal document has been circulating stating guidelines that partners (employees) are to follow when dealing with an armed customer. The gist of the guidelines is that employees are not to take any action at all unless there is a disturbance. If there is a disturbance they are to follow the same procedure as for any other disturbance.

Will you still carry when you get your daily cup of joe?

See the full text of the letter below.

Open Letter:

Dear Fellow Americans,

Few topics in America generate a more polarized and emotional debate than guns. In recent months, Starbucks stores and our partners (employees) who work in our stores have been thrust unwillingly into the middle of this debate. That’s why I am writing today with a respectful request that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas.

From the beginning, our vision at Starbucks has been to create a “third place” between home and work where people can come together to enjoy the peace and pleasure of coffee and community. Our values have always centered on building community rather than dividing people, and our stores exist to give every customer a safe and comfortable respite from the concerns of daily life.

We appreciate that there is a highly sensitive balance of rights and responsibilities surrounding America’s gun laws, and we recognize the deep passion for and against the “open carry” laws adopted by many states. (In the United States, “open carry” is the term used for openly carrying a firearm in public.) For years we have listened carefully to input from our customers, partners, community leaders and voices on both sides of this complicated, highly charged issue.

Our company’s longstanding approach to “open carry” has been to follow local laws: we permit it in states where allowed and we prohibit it in states where these laws don’t exist. We have chosen this approach because we believe our store partners should not be put in the uncomfortable position of requiring customers to disarm or leave our stores. We believe that gun policy should be addressed by government and law enforcement—not by Starbucks and our store partners.

Recently, however, we’ve seen the “open carry” debate become increasingly uncivil and, in some cases, even threatening. Pro-gun activists have used our stores as a political stage for media events misleadingly called “Starbucks Appreciation Days” that disingenuously portray Starbucks as a champion of “open carry.” To be clear: we do not want these events in our stores. Some anti-gun activists have also played a role in ratcheting up the rhetoric and friction, including soliciting and confronting our customers and partners.

For these reasons, today we are respectfully requesting that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas—even in states where “open carry” is permitted—unless they are authorized law enforcement personnel.

I would like to clarify two points. First, this is a request and not an outright ban. Why? Because we want to give responsible gun owners the chance to respect our request—and also because enforcing a ban would potentially require our partners to confront armed customers, and that is not a role I am comfortable asking Starbucks partners to take on. Second, we know we cannot satisfy everyone. 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.

I am proud of our country and our heritage of civil discourse and debate. It is in this spirit that we make today’s request. Whatever your view, I encourage you to be responsible and respectful of each other as citizens and neighbors.

Sincerely,

Howard Schultz

5 thoughts on “Is Starbucks going Anti-Gun?”

  1. Well Starbucks is just riding the fence but they are going to have to get on one side or the other, like it or not. I understand they didn’t open this can of worms, but they are going to choose one side or another (sounds like they pretty much already have though). You can’t please everyone Starbucks, take a stand and show your true colors. We’re waiting……….

  2. The CEO of Starbucks has made an polite heartfelt ” appeal ” to the public as a whole respecting the ” current gun issue “, and is appealing with the customers better nature on this matter.
    Howard Schultz statement is not dictating a right or wrong motive of firearms for being in his coffee shops , he simply thinks as do I and as any reasonable common sensed person does … ” Why do you need to carry a gun to buy a coffee and sit on the Wi-Fi in my shops for an hour in a family / relaxed atmosphere America ” … you crazy mad people … ! .. right on Howard you have my full support !!!!

  3. Jeff, I’m not quite sure i understand your reasoning in Starbucks “having” to pick a side. As a consumer, i strongly prefer that businesses do not publicize their political views as it only further separates this country into an already detrimental bipartisanship. I agree with 8541 on this in that you have to applaud the way Starbucks handled being thrown the middle of the ring. Their main goal all along has been nothing more than to support whatever laws existed in that given area, whether open carry is legal or not. It is terrible to think that the anit-gun nuts will claim this as a victory, but maybe we shouldn’t have turned them into our own personal pro-gun symbol to begin with.

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