To start, I'm all for more gun control, tougher gun legislation, background checks for buying guns and basically anything along those lines that allow fewer people to buy guns. In August, gun-rights advocates tried to hold "Starbucks Appreciation Days" at Starbucks locations to thank Starbucks for their "stance" in the gun rights debate. One of those locations: Newtown, CT.
In response, Starbucks closed the Newtown store early before the event could start out of respect to the community. Read the blog post from Chris Carr, executive vice president, on the Newtown closing here.
I really respected Starbucks for their appropriate response and was outraged gun advocates would even consider Newtown as a location. It was completely inappropriate in every way. I live about 45 minutes from Newtown and went to the area for an interview shortly after the shootings. It was a heartbreaking experience. The psychologist and one of the children's funerals were that day. I drove by one of the cemeteries while one of the funerals was proceeding as it was by a main road and visited the area where people paid their respects and left mementos, such as stuffed animals, candles, etc. I cried all the way home.
Yesterday, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz posted to the Starbucks blog:
"...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."
- The debate has become increasingly uncivil and in some cases threatening
- Presence of weapons in stores is unsettling and upsetting customers
- Pro-gun activists used the stores as a political stage for media events
- Misleading Starbucks Appreciation Days " disingenuously portray Starbucks as a champion of “open carry.”
Why they're not outright banning guns:
- Want to give responsible gun owners the chance to respect their request
- Enforcing a ban would require partners (employees) to confront armed customers and Schultz doesn't feel comfortable asking the partners to do that
- "For those who oppose “open carry,” we believe the legislative and policy-making process is the proper arena for this debate, not our stores."
I think Starbucks made the right decision here in the interest of customers and their partners. I wouldn't feel comfortable with guns in any store and I think the debate for gun control is getting a little out of hand. While part of me wishes they would ban them, I think their reasons are solid for not doing so. There are many reasons Starbucks is my favorite coffee shop; this is one of them.
What do you think of this move from Starbucks?