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.

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