When I read stories like this one from CEO’s…well, like this one…I have to wonder when we became such a nation of pansies and nincompoops. Starbucks CEO says that they don’t want to be embroiled in the gun debate. And, so– like any company who doesn’t want to be embroiled in a debate- they decide to throw themselves firmly in the middle of one by sending a public letter asking their customer not to “open carry.” Although, if you read his letter, this isn’t really about “open carry” at all— instead, his first paragraph states he doesn’t want customers to bring in firearms into his stores at all.
Let me remind this public that this particular CEO who is so wishful and desirous of peace and non-contention has a history of stirring the pot to create the exact opposite. For example:
This is not the first time the Starbucks CEO has found himself in the middle of a frothy sociopolitical debate. Schultz was a vocal supporter of gay marriage rights, banned smoking within 25 feet of the chain’s stores and, in 2011, encouraged fellow business owners to “withhold political campaign contributions until a transparent, comprehensive, bipartisan debt-and-deficit package is reached.”
While Schultz says that this is not a ban on open carry in his store (he graciously wants to see his patrons obey and comply before he takes that leap)…it carries a condescending “I humbly ask you to give up your constitutional rights” …“or else” …tone to it. Pretty much the equivalent of me looking my child in the eye and saying, “You have two choices.” When both of us know if they pick the wrong one they lose the option of choosing at all.
Let me state here that the only thing I don’t think anyone should be openly carrying is an overpriced cup of coffee with a Starbucks logo on it. You certainly aren’t the only option in town. And, let’s be honest…most would agree that paying $6 for a cup of coffee is the real crime.
And one last humble reminder from little ol’ me. Gun free zones are where people get slaughtered.
See the full letter below:
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.
* You can follow Brittany Pounders on Twitter at @LibertyBritt.