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Starbucks Asks Customers to Keep Guns Out of Their Stores


The chairman of Starbucks is asking customers to keep guns out of their stores and outdoor seating areas in response to an “appreciation day” started by gun enthusiasts.

So much for “Starbucks Appreciation Day,” a manufactured occasion which is designed to celebrate Starbucks as a “gun-friendly” business.

In a letter to customers, Starbucks’ CEO says it’s causing an unwelcome, and potentially dangerous problem:

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.

If I go to a Starbucks, the last thing I’m interested in is being caught in some kind of crossfire — the gunfire kind or the political kind. I just want coffee.

Starbucks stopped short of banning firearms, instead choosing to “politely request” that its customers not bring guns inside their locations or to the outdoor seating areas.

The company also says its “open carry” policy was designed to follow local laws, not make a political statement: they permitted “open carry” only in states that allowed it and prohibited it in states where it was prohibited, because they didn’t want to put their employees in the “uncomfortable position of requiring customers to disarm of leave” their stores.

“We believe that gun policy should be addressed by government and law enforcement—not by Starbucks and our store partners,” the statement said.

That’s not an unreasonable idea. Unfortunately, some people have to make it bigger than it needs to be. Some people need to draw too much attention to their own agendas rather than just going about their business.

So why not just ban guns altogether? The letter explains it this way:

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.

Sounds like a common sense approach to me.

He’s definitely right about the fact that there’s no pleasing everyone. This will be viewed differently depending on which side of the gun debate you’re on. And, just like “Starbucks Appreciation Day,” we’ll see people turning this into more than it’s intended — or needs — to be.

But if this request alone really changes where you get your coffee, you might want to ask yourself if you’re one of those people.


  1. DrGaryNGoodman I really didn’t want to like them after the pro-gun stuff they did but then I’m like but they have health ins. for employees

  2. I was all prepared to say that a Starbuck’s Appreciation [gun] Day seems dangerous and would make me incredibly nervous, but when I read what Nicholas Z. Cardot wrote, my mind was instantly put at ease. That is a much more well-thought out approach than anything I’d have thought of in my state.
    I know it is clearly and patently unpopular, but ever since the Connecticut shooting, I have been adamantly anti firearm bearing. As an EMT, I would never bring myself to carry, much less discharge a weapon. I took an oath to preserve life, not destroy it. And while I realise that the Constitution allows people to form their own militia, I feel that those words are incorrectly used. I believe that stipend was for when there was no regular standing United States militia, rather than we’d like to form ANOTHER militia aside from the existing one. Is that not incorrect?
    At any rate, I have come to feel that aside from the Armed Forces, our current militia and the local constabulary, maybe allowing just anyone to own a firearm is not the greatest idea. Or, if we do allow it, how about not allowing just anyone the right to own “cop-killer” bullets or automatic and possibly semi-automatic firearms. I might be more forgiving of a Glocken 9mm or something along those lines… I just don’t see where semi- and fully automatic weapons are acceptable.
    I have a huge number of friends who are gun owners and I could not say a negative word about them. They take every possible precaution to keep their environment utterly safe for themselves, spouse and/or children. It’s just that in some cases, like the kid in Connecticut, whose mother allowed her mentally troubled son access to her firearms, there are holes in the system. I do feel more stringent testing is a step in the right direction for those wishing to obtain a license, but still, too many cracks permeate the system. Until then, why not leave the professionals to having the guns, and allowing the citizenry and hopefully the criminals do without?
    I don’t mind a healthy, normal debate about this, and am willing to be educated on this topic. I would prefer not to be referred to in any derogatory fashion for suddenly feeling that the plethora of shootings starting with the Connecticut one needs a stronger handle on people getting permits to carry. I’ll be the first to say that it is completely and utterly unrealistic to think that there is ANY way that people will 1. Hand over their firearms and 2. Stop wanting to own them. I don’t find that an acceptable solution, either. I just don’t see ANY solution right now.

  3. @Nicholas Z Cardot The friend asking you to leave your gun in the car is a great analogy, Nicholas! Thanks for that…hadn’t thought of it quite that way, but you’re right. And they DO make it clear that they’re not trying to issue some sort of ban.

  4. Earlier today I read the entire post on the Starbucks website after having seen people Tweet about it all day long. As a Verteran, I’m a huge fan of having the right to own and carry a firearm, but if I were carrying and I went to a friend’s house and politely asked me to leave my firearm in the car, I would be happy to oblige. I felt that is all that Starbucks is doing here. They’re not even banning them. They’re simply politely asking if you can leave your gun someplace else while lounging in their establishment.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.