Posted by Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman, president and chief executive officer
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.
I wont lie, I am a coffee drinker. What I am not is a $6 coffee drinker. My sleepy little hometown doesn’t have a Starbucks so I have to drive about an hour to get to the closest one and I would much rather prefer to push the brew button on my Keurig than make the drive. I will enjoy a cup of Starbucks on special occasions but it is rare.
Yesterday Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz came out and made the announcement that starting today Starbucks is respectfully requesting that guns be kept out of Starbucks. Here is the video of his request:
Sure I am a little pissed by this choice but to be honest I have seen this coming for awhile now. About a week ago I was shopping around for a place to do some work for Valkyrie Defense Group I wanted to keep the money local so I called one place and had a appointment made to come in and talk over what I needed. When I pulled up to the business I noticed the “No Gun” sign and walked in told them I had new plans and I was sorry that they didn’t include them anymore. I went down the street to the next place with no sign and thanked them for respecting my rights to carry a firearm.
Back to Starbucks, am I surprised they made this decision? Nope. Starbucks has found themselves in the middle of two extremes for quite some time now . You have Moms Demand Action on the extreme of one side while on the other side you have open carry demonstrators who frequently plan rallies. Starbucks is the unwilling participant of a turf war and is understandably getting tired of it.
Moms Demand Action quickly took credit for Starbucks’ announcement but I don’t think they can take all the credit. I think some credit or blame goes out to all the open carry demonstrators who went as far as to open carrying not just pistols, but rifles and shotguns also. We know all too well how far some of the anti-gun side can take things way to far by exploiting the tragedies of a shooting and using them to fuel their side of the argument. I feel that some on our side went a little too far and this in-your-face open carry “support” is what prompted Starbucks to take their new stance. Some on our side took Starbucks’ response that they would abide by the local and state laws regarding firearms as a pro-gun statement when they were just saying “Hey we are here to just sell overpriced coffee.”
Some people went pretty far to “educate the lefties” of our rights. Take these three guys for instance, after they showed up with rifles to demonstrate their rights they were charged with disorderly conduct.
I am not completely against open carry. I believe there is a time and place for anything. When I teach I generally open carry. When I am headed to the range I carry openly. Open carry can be done right and wrong. When I open carry I have been mistaken for a police officer quite a few times. I have never once been mistaken for a meth dealer or a crack addict and I think that is where some people go wrong. As a gun community we need to police our own a little better to prevent another situation like this happening again. We win together, we lose together.
Open carry done wrong
Rob Pincus did a video covering the subject of appropriate open carry over on the Personal Defense Network in May and I think it is pretty relevant under these circumstances.
I honestly think they should have worded yesterday’s statement differently. Instead of asking guns to be left out of the Starbucks experience they should have asked to both sides to leave coffee out of the politics. Today we will see how far they are going to go with their request. If they put the signs on the door they are in fact taking a stance. If their stores remain unposted then they are still Switzerland.
Again I don’t think we can be mad. Everyone should have seen it coming…. sadly, I did. We need to learn and move on. Some blogs are thinking that there will be no signs going up and Starbucks will stop at the respectful request. Only time will tell. Be sure to look the blog up on Facebook and be sure to share the link onto your social media sites. We need to get the word out and show the in-your-face side of our team there are consequences to their actions that effect all of us.
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