Starbucks "Respectfully Requests" Customers Don't Bring Guns Into Store, Gun Advocates Lash Out

CEO Howard Schultz penned an open letter explaining that guns aren't banned, but Sbux would prefer they aren't brought into the store

By John Boone Sep 18, 2013 10:12 PMTags
Starbucks, GunStarbucks, IStock

Starbucks: Now serving Pumpkin Spice Lattes without a side of firearms.

Sbux CEO Howard Schultz posted an open letter on the company's website today "respectfully requesting that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas—even in states where 'open carry' is permitted." The company will publish the same open letter in full-page ads taken out in major newspapers.

Schultz penned the request after the company was "thrust unwillingly into the middle of this debate." In the past, though Starbucks has taken a stance on LGBT and environmental issues, they have deferred gun policies to state laws.

"We believe that gun policy should be addressed by government and law enforcement—not by Starbucks and our store partners," Schultz explained in the letter, further clarifying to The New York Times, "We are not pro-gun or anti-gun."

As such, Starbucks hadn't banned guns, as companies are allowed to do on private property. This neutral stance put Starbucks in the middle of a battle of Second Amendment rights, with gun-control advocates asking the coffee emporium to ban guns straight out, while gun-rights supporters mistook that neutrality as a big thumbs up.

Gun-rights activists in Newton, Conn.—the site of last year's tragic elementary school shooting—tried to stage a "Starbucks Appreciation Day," with customers planning to bring their firearms to purchase coffee. When Starbucks learned of the demonstration, they closed the store early.

This "Appreciation Day" "disingenuously portray[s] Starbucks as a champion of 'open carry,'" Schultz writes of the incident. "To be clear: we do not want these events in our stores."

That said, it's important to note that this request is a request, "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," he continues.

Schultz says those who choose to openly carry a gun will not be asked to leave. "We are going to serve them as we would serve anyone else," he says, acknowledging that he "recognize[s] the deep passion for and against the 'open carry' laws."

Basically: Starbucks would prefer you didn't bring a gun to their store, but you still can.

Still, that "passion" drew thousands of vocal gunnies to Starbucks' Facebook page, where they announced they would be boycotting the company. "IF I were ever to consider scarifying six dollars on a cup of coffee, it surely wouldn't be in a business that would 'ask' me to sacrifice a constitutional right," one poster wrote.

A sentiment echoed over and over (and over and over) again: "When Starbucks clerk asks my name I'm gunna recite the 2nd Amendment," one angry Twitter user plotted. "So they hafta write it on the cup & say it when my drink's ready. ‪#tcot." 

Well, good luck with that. They'll probably pronounce it wrong anyway.