Recently Starbucks Coffee came out with a letter (see below) indicating that firearms are no longer welcome on their property. This has created a lot of controversy about open carry versus property rights.
Let’s first talk about the subject of open carry. I personally choose to concealed carry for tactical reasons. That does not mean that I never open carry but I consider my intended environment before doing so. Open carrying in a crowded environment does not necessary relate to a positive experience for everyone and may draw unwanted attention. I do however support your right to choose how you carry.
Let’s get to the point about people open carrying firearm, specifically long guns, in Starbucks. A recent trend has been to pose with AR-15’s and Ak47’s and post it on social media. They are doing with this for political reasons and to draw attention to themselves.
In my opinion, making a political statement in a non-political arena servers not real purpose and does not benefit the cause.
It was recently pointed out that Starbucks was found in 1971 in Seattle and from that time until 2013, they had no problems with people open carrying firearms. They didn’t have a problem with it until OC’ers made Starbucks a political forum and inundated stores nationwide armed to the teeth. This messed with their business. This thrust Starbucks, who did not wish to be part of the firearm debate, front and center on the subject ultimately interfering with their ability to due business.
Let’s address private property rights. First and foremost, lets be clear that you have no rights on private property. The Bill of Rights, was written to regulate government entities and nothing is law affords you rights beyond that. Starbucks is private property and with a few exceptions can do business or more specifically not do business with anyone they wish. Since the beginning they allowed anyone unabated to solicit their services. Their policies that was simply respect the laws of each state.
Starbucks recently changed their long standing policy because of our actions. We entered their property and created a situation that interfered with their ability to conduct business. Their new policy makes their wishes clear, however, the same policy state that their employees will take not action if it was to occur. I interpret this policy as a serious warning to please take them out of the debate.
After this policy was released, some took to social media to show how ignorant we can be. They claimed that Starbucks is tromping on their constitutional rights, they are totalitarians and other unsavory statements. As previously discussed, Starbucks is a private company on their property and can do as they wish.
What we really need to do is realize that our actions, while well intentioned, can have an adverse effect. Apologize to Starbucks and hope that this policy that really isn’t being enforced, will allow them the ability to fade back into the background.
What we can take from this is the knowledge that the 2nd amendment rights don’t trump any other rights. Many have fought and died for ALL these rights and one should never stand taller then any another. Just as important, we should also take the political debate to the political arena. It does not belong in the private sector.
Open carrying a firearm comes with responsibility and, at times, we forget about our primary reason for carrying. Protect ourselves and others. You can still accomplish this by carrying a pistol in a proper holster that completely covers the trigger. Many firearm enthusiasts do not consider a firearm to be safe unless the trigger is properly covered. Long guns do not afford this safety especially when being handled in the manner seen in these photos.
In the end, please consider your environment when deciding how to carry and always be an ambassador
to the overall cause.
Understandably not everyone may agree with my position. That’s OK and I welcome a conversation on the matter. Please feel free to contact me through our contact us page Also, please feel free to share this on social media. There more people talking about it the more of a consensus our community will have on the subject.
An Open Letter from Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks Coffee CompanyTuesday, September 17, 2013
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.