Friday, February 17, 2012

Starbucks position on open gun carry laws creates nightmare

If you are a Starbuck’s fan, and I am, and if you are an advocate of sane gun control, which I am, you might be looking for a place other than your local Starbuck’s store to get your daily coffee fix.  And I might just do that too if the gun bubbas attempt to bully their way around where my wife and I migrate to at least three or four times a week for our favorite brews. 

So far I have not seen one open-carried weapon where we frequent—we are in Arizona and that’s not normal—so maybe there is still hope.  However, that doesn’t mean that half the people we’re sitting around with don’t have a Glock in their pocket.  Hey, they can carry loaded handguns into bars in this state so why not their local Starbucks?  The whole concept amounts to sheer lunacy.

This past Tuesday the National Gun Victim's Action Council (NGVA) called for a boycott on all Starbucks stores because the company allows guns and assault weapons to be openly carried in its stores (in 43 states) and concealed and carried in its stores (in 49 states).  There is the implication by NGVA that Starbucks has been pressured by the National Rifle Assn. (NRA) due to its 2010 Pro-Gun Agenda where the "open carry" movement began meeting in popular major retail chains.

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz

All the chains but Starbucks banned guns from being carried in their stores.  As a loyal customer, I asked Starbucks to email me their current policy on open gun carry which they did.  It dates back to March of 2010 which coincides with the NRA’s Pro-Gun Agenda so I decided to ask the company a question I felt might shed some light on the matter. 

The question was: “Is Howard Schultz (Starbucks CEO) a member of the National Rifle Association (NRA)?  If you cannot answer this question, please forward this email to Mr. Schultz's office.” 

I waited for over 10 days and when I received no answer sent this email: “As of this date I have not received an answer and would like to hear from someone at your earliest convenience.  Otherwise, I will proceed and write my article with the information I have indicating your response to the above.  That was on February 9, with still no answer yet.

Whether Howard Schultz is or is not a member of the NRA makes absolutely no difference in this matter other to simply clarify his personal position on guns.  If an NRA member, he could be as radical as certain factions of this organization that believe that guns should be available to anyone in the world and be able to be carried by their owners anywhere in the world.  But Howard decided to keep this information to himself and that is his right.

NGVA made this additional statement: “Starbucks has the legal right to ban guns but despite having been petitioned by thousands, asked at a shareholder meeting, and a direct appeal made to their Board, Starbucks clings to this policy that puts millions of Americans at risk every day and encourages the spread of guns being carried in public.”  They add, "Open and conceal and carry are among the reasons there are 12,000 gun homicides each year in the U.S.

NGCA thinks "Starbucks’ steadfast support of the NRA's lethal pro-gun agenda damages its 'socially conscious company' brand.”  They said the boycott will continue until “Starbucks rejects the NRA's Pro-Gun agenda by banning all guns from their stores and committing to be an Aggressive Corporate Advocate for sane gun laws.” 

The Brady Campaign says: “Fifty six percent of those polled - favor Starbucks and other retail establishments establishing strict ‘no guns’ policies for their businesses - and far more gun owners support a “no guns” policy for Starbucks than believe Starbucks and other businesses should allow firearms on their premises,” this according to a poll conducted for the Brady Center by the polling firm Lake Research Partners. 

That is a pretty strong mandate that Starbucks has opened a can of worms it had better close before the boycotts start to affect their business, and there are even additional gun control organizations threatening more of the same.  Or…before someone is injured or even killed at one of their stores, which, based on daily reports of shootings that occur in Arizona, could happen at my favorite location.


  1. The previous time a boycott was tried there was in 2010 by the Brady Coalition. Interestingly enough, Starbucks stock went up for the year even after protests at the shareholders' annual meeting.

    Does anyone really believe that a no guns "policy" will keep a criminal from doing an armed robbery or shooting up the place there or anywhere else?

    Where has a no guns "policy" like this ever stopped a criminal from plying his trade? You really believe a sign will stop them? Getting arrested for using a gun in a crime is just a cost of doing business to a criminal.

    Here is a recent email from Starbucks regarding their policy.

    " Thank you for your feedback regarding Starbucks' policy on open carry laws.

    At Starbucks, we deeply respect the views of our customers and recognize that there is significant and genuine passion surrounding the issue of open carry weapons laws. We comply with local laws and statutes in the communities we serve. Our long-standing approach to this issue remains unchanged and we abide by the laws that permit open carry in 43 U.S. states. Where these laws don't exist, openly carrying weapons in our stores is prohibited.

    As the public debate around this issue continues, we encourage customers and advocacy groups from both sides to share their input with their public officials. 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 partners and customers."


    customer service

  2. Mr Dunning,
    In response to you're post, I believe you have attempted to correlate lawful use of firearms with criminal misuse of the same. It is disingenuous to make that argument since no data can be found to prove the correlation. If you insist on using an emotional argument,you fail to make a point. Just come out and say it, you don't want law abiding citizens to be able to exercise a guaranteed, enumerated right. There is no shame in having an opinion, but using false claims to justify a position does nothing to further you're cause. In fact, it may even harm the position you presume to take.

    I, on the other hand, will take the position that if Starbucks doesn't seem to care whether citizens exercise their rights during a visit to their store, then I will patronize said establishment as frequently as possible. Hell, I will even buy you a cup of "brew" , should I find you there. We could have a nice chat about enumerated rights, and legal responsibilities of shopkeepers. One of which is to the stockholders, and turning away paying customers certainly fits in that description.

    Tom Woodrow
    considerate Pro Rights enthusiast

  3. Interesting, Tom, although I disagree with your conclusion and think you know all my facts are not only right but that you can trace them back to their sources, all of which are authentic. You missed the point, Tom; this isn't about any emotional approach to gun control, it is about how the public feels about carrying guns in retail establishments like Starbucks. A majority are clearly against it and if we should ever meet at a S'bucks, it would be my hope that their policy will have changed by then.

    Thank you for your thoughtful comment!


    1. Mr Dunning,

      While I do believe your statistics are authentic, (only because I am sure that you did not just make them up, but obtained them from a source), I think there is a flaw. The Brady folks are very biased and I believe that it would be more accurate to use other figures. I am sure that I could come up with equally stacked stats if I say, went to the NRA. But since I am skeptical of numbers that come from biased sources, I will rely on my own experience. And my personal experience comes nowhere near the 56% against lawful carrying of firearms that Brady or others proclaims. My experience tells more like 20-25% against the lawful act. And that includes a broad demographic, of course, not by scientific method, but anecdotal. I am not a pollster by any means.

      The bottom line is, and will always be, money. Starbucks , as far as I can tell, did not lose much, if any, as a result of this “boycott”. And that supports my claim that the majority of customers do not mind sharing the air with self defense minded, law abiding people. So, of course I do not agree with you're “facts”, because I see what is really happening. The store I visited on Tuesday was packed. I had to sit outside with others, and it was a chilly day. Rare in Tucson, we get that every so often. Seating was at a premium, and there was a line of three in front of me. At ten o'clock. On a work day. And as I was looking for a place to sit, armed, of course, more were coming in. Lotsa coffee going on, nowhattamean?

      What is really interesting, Mr Dunning, is this: I was at the range this morning, and the discussion eventually turned to this topic (Starbucks boycott), more enthusiasts did not know about it than those who did. There are quite a few gun owners that don’t spend their time on petty stuff like boycotts/buycotts. And these are just normal folks like You and I, just doin their thing, And to see that I am only the second person to respond to you're rather well written post, none of this surprises me all that much.

      The truth is nobody really cares, except for a few of us vocal types. But we are vocal because we are passionate, not just on this subject, but many others, I am sure. There are always going to be the type who troll and call names, but they do it more for the reaction more than anything. And (un)fortunately, they have blogs like this one that they can feed on. Internet rule #1: Don't Feed The Trolls! LOL!

      Funny aside, I would like to extend the proverbial olive branch, and offer you a chance to meet up and learn some of the tools and techniques of the firearm world. To be presumptuous,( apologizing in advance!!), It has been my experience that most firearm related fears are out of non-familiarity. Not all, by a long shot, but for the most part I have seen this be the case. Make no mistake, Sir, I am not trying to convert you!! But I think it only fair to offer you the opportunity to perhaps have a new experience in a safe, controlled environment, with a highly skilled person to do the introduction. You never know, you might just have fun.

      And you might find out that gun owners are not blanket crazy. Take it from me, I have met some shooters who are true salt of the earth.

      And then, we can go have a coffee. Circle K has better, IMHO.

      Tom Woodrow
      considerate Pro Rights enthusiast



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