Firearms in Starbucks stores

Believe it or not, Starbucks stores have found themselves in the center of a massive debate over gun control. You read that right… Starbucks — the coffee chain — is quickly becoming a big target for both sides of the debate in several states.

This statement needs context, I realize.

In most states around the country, it’s legal to carry a weapon (subject to certain licensing requirements, etc.) in public places. Individual businesses can decide to prohibit weapons in their establishments, but there’s no legal barrier to carrying weapons if the business doesn’t object. This is where the arguments involving Starbucks come into play.

Carrying firearms and quotations from the Bill of Rights, protesters in Northern California started gathering in stores from Peet’s Coffee & Tea and California Pizza Kitchen. Those chains changed their corporate policies to prohibit weapons on their premises, leading protesters to start gathering at Starbucks instead.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence sent Starbucks a letter urging the coffee chain to also prohibit weapons in their stores.

Image from

Starbucks has politely refused to meet the Brady Campaign’s request. “Were we to adopt a policy different from local laws allowing open carry, we would be forced to require our partners to ask law abiding customers to leave our stores, putting our partners in an unfair and potentially unsafe position,” said the company., an Internet community that supports gun owners’ rights, issued a statement that it was “impressed” with Starbucks’ decision and that its 28,000 members will regularly buy Starbucks products to show their support. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, on the other hand, has started a petition to encourage Starbucks to serve “espresso shots, not gunshots.”

As for Starbucks, they’d just as soon stay out of the fray altogether. From a statement on the company’s website:

The political, policy and legal debates around these issues belong in the legislatures and courts, not in our stores. … Advocacy groups from both sides of this issue have chosen to use Starbucks as a way to draw attention to their positions. … As the public debate continues, we are asking all interested parties to refrain from putting Starbucks or our partners in the middle of this divisive issue.

So, what do you think? Should Starbucks, and other places of business that are open to the public, permit customers to carry weapons in the business if the laws of that state don’t prohibit doing so? Reply below!

6 Responses to Firearms in Starbucks stores

  1. Sailorcurt says:

    Carrying firearms and quotations from the Bill of Rights, protesters in Northern California started gathering in stores from Peet’s Coffee & Tea and California Pizza Kitchen.

    The implication that gun owners had been staging open carry protest events or somehow trying to foment some sort of confrontation by “testing” the gun policies of local businesses is a blatant falsehood and is nothing more than media spin and propaganda.

    The open carry groups across the country are doing nothing more than holding meetings and get-togethers while exercising the right to bear arms in whatever manner is prescribed by their local and state laws.

    Those meetings are held at locations that respect the rights of the gun owners and places that prohibit the lawful carry of defensive arms are not patronized.

    If gun owners were “protesting” or “testing” anything, it seems to me like they’d be the ones protesting outside the companies that ban them, circulating petitions to get those companies to change their policies, and whining to the media about how these companies are endangering their customers.

    Hmm…Which side is it again that are doing these things?

    Oh yea…the Brady Campaign and its minions.

    Gun owners are doing nothing different than we’ve been doing for at least the past ten years. Starbucks policy is not new, and is not unusual. Most businesses don’t prevent their customers from engaging in lawful acts or carrying the proper tools for lawful self-defense.

    The ones who do are the exception, not the rule.

    Starbucks is wise to stay neutral on the subject and simply follow the local laws and regulations for the area the particular store is located. And it’s the Brady campaign that insists on making them front and center in this issue, not gun owners.

    Reporting that indicates anything otherwise is nothing more than agenda driven propaganda.

  2. gatoruptown says:

    Thanks for the comment, Sailorcurt!

  3. GayActivist says:

    Forget about the Hate Crimes Law and give all the homos guns!

    I kid. Seriously, though… My personal opinion is that there is no place for guns in a public setting.

    Starbucks’ response, to me, translates to “We’ll take anyone’s money, regardless of whether or not they’re a gun-toting ‘Fundamentalist’ or an ‘Unpatriotic’, 2nd Amendment bashing zealot.” In other words, whether I agree with it or not, it sounds like a business decision, not a decision to protect anyone’s rights.

    – Charlotte, NC

  4. Sailorcurt says:

    My personal opinion is that there is no place for guns in a public setting.

    So you feel that police officers should be unarmed?

  5. Sailorcurt says:

    In other words, whether I agree with it or not, it sounds like a business decision, not a decision to protect anyone’s rights.

    Exactly right.

    And, as a business, that’s exactly what the policy decisions that they make SHOULD be.

    They don’t WANT to be involved in a partisan political battle. Starbucks has been a donor to the Brady Campaign in the past. My guess is that they really don’t want to be placed in the position of even being perceived as supporting gun rights, because they don’t.

    The Brady campaign has thrust them into a position that they don’t want to be in for no other reason that they have a corporate policy (a business decision) to follow the laws of the states and localities that the stores are located in.

    It’s actually a very wise decision on their part from a business standpoint. Ridiculously caricaturized stereotypes of gun owners aside, there are plenty of urban, socially liberal, latte-drinking gun owners out there. Over half the country lives in gun owning households, it would be hard to imagine that a good percentage of them DON’T fit the demographic of potential Starbucks customers.

    There are even Starbucks coffee shops on many military bases. There’s one in the Base Exchange on the base that I work on.

    Alienating over half of one’s potential customer base is not a good business decision for any national company…which is exactly WHY Starbuck’s policy is not an aberration, but the norm.

    What the Brady Campaign is doing here, in its desperate struggle to achieve some semblance of relevance in an era of steady relaxation of gun restrictions in many states and stronger federal recognition of the right to keep and bear arms through the Heller and upcoming McDonald SCOTUS decisions, is to force an ostensible political ally into the unenviable position of defending a political position that they otherwise don’t really support.

    Pretty smooth move by Helmke and friends if you ask me. Nothing like backing your your friends into a corner so tightly that they feel compelled to defend your enemies.

    It’s actually quite funny when you think about it.

    And, by the way, this is exactly the reason that the Brady Campaign and their propaganda arm in the media are trying to shift the narrative from the true story, to some concocted fantasy about gun owners protesting and “testing” bounds.

  6. Sailorcurt says:

    Oh…and one more thing for GayActivist to mull over:

    I wonder of the members of this national organization fit the bigoted stereotype of gun owners that he seems to have formed.

    I guess I’m fortunate to be involved in an inclusive community that is more tolerant of other viewpoints than some people seem to be.

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