In case you missed the news yesterday, the President/CEO of Starbucks finally got fed up with conflict stirred up by the open carry faction of the shooting community and said, in effect, “no more.” In a statement on the company’s blog he posted a note (which you need to read to understand clearly what this is all about) which asked people to leave their guns at home when visiting any of his stores.
This all happened because Starbucks once said that they will respect local laws in regard to firearms. When the strongest proponents of civilian disarmament were pushing them to ban the concealed carry of guns in their stores, Starbucks took the the position that they didn’t want to get involved, that they would simply follow the law in their locality. I thought that was an enlightened and appropriate way for a large company to approach the issue.
Unfortunately too many people on our side of the fence took that to mean that Starbucks was pro-gun and that they needed our support. Further, that support had to be in the form of in-your-face open carry, and even further that it needed to be done in an organized manner on pre-arranged days so that Starbucks would get the message.
They got it, they didn’t like the consequences of it, and now they’ve said so in plain English.
You see, those misguided events put them squarely in the firing line between us the people like Dianne Feinstein and Michael Bloomberg. They didn’t want to be there; they had taken what they thought was a neutral position, but we couldn’t leave well enough alone. We had to push the envelope, and they finally — predictably — pushed back.
This happened because our side doesn’t take the “responsible” part of “responsible gun ownership” very seriously. As a community we don’t police our own very well, and we don’t consider the consequences of our/their actions. The rabid open carriers who organized the ill-considered Starbucks Appreciation Days weren’t being responsible by forcing a conflict on an innocent (and surprisingly tolerant, given what they’ve had to endure) third party; neither were the open carriers who participated in them, nor the rest of us who didn’t step up and remind the others what responsibility actually means.
It’s one thing to go out and antagonize cops for the purposes of getting YouTube hits; it’s another to take advantage of the accepting nature of someone else and use it for political gain. That’s what we did with Starbucks, it was wrong, and it’s time for the rest of us to set things right.
The most amazing thing is that today, based on what I’m seeing on blogs and social media, a large number of gun owners are inexplicably mad. They’re posting that they’ll never do business with Starbucks again because the company “sided” with the gun prohibitionists.
That’s not only shortsighted, it’s ignorant.
Starbucks have simply said that they no longer want to be a proxy in our war, thankyouverymuch, and to please just leave them out of it. They’re not saying that they oppose gun ownership, lawful concealed carry, self defense, or anything else. They just don’t want us to use them as a political football any more. They’re not our enemies, but only because they apparently have more tolerance for us than we do for them.
Instead of arrogant declarations of indignation (“how dare you assert your right to be left alone!”), I think it’s time all of the RESPONSIBLE gun owners patronize Starbucks. Politely, with completely concealed firearms and without calling any attention to ourselves in any manner, and just enjoying the fact that Starbucks hasn’t gone down the road of rejecting the shooting community completely.
At least, not yet. If it happens it won’t be because of the gun grabbers; it will be due to a small faction of our community that insists on carrying guns for political purposes and using others as political footballs. That’s irresponsible, and it’s time for the rest of us to tell them so.
-=[ Grant ]=-
P.S.: the Starbucks servers have apparently crashed this morning. Here is the statement in its entirety:
Posted by Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman, president and chief executive officer
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.