Starbucks Folds….Kinda

I must say, some people are looking into this more than I think is warranted. Starbucks is no longer welcoming firearms in their stores.

Starbucks says guns are no longer welcome in its cafes, though it is stopping short of an outright ban on firearms.

The fine line that the retailer is walking to address the concerns of both gun rights and gun control advocates reflects how heated the issue has become, particularly in light of recent mass shootings.

Most states allow people to openly carry licensed guns in some way and many companies do not have policies banning firearms in their stores. But Starbucks has become a target for gun control advocates, in part because of its liberal-leaning corporate image. In turn, gun rights advocates have been galvanized by the company’s decision to defer to local laws.

In an interview, CEO Howard Schultz said the decision to ask customers to stop bringing guns into stores came as a result of the growing frequency of “Starbucks Appreciation Days” in recent months, in which gun rights advocates turn up at Starbucks cafes with firearms….Schultz hopes people will honor the request not to bring in guns but says the company will nevertheless serve those who do.

“We will not ask you to leave,” he said.

A copy of the corporate memo can be found here. Honestly I read this whole thing as Starbucks being an unwilling participant in the open carry/ concealed carry debate. I think the ONLY thing this does is pushes the politics away. Certainly I think as Second Amendment advocates and activists we should respect them by no longer having “Starbucks Appreciation Days” and other demonstrations at their locations.

If you would like to continue patronizing their stores, I see nothing changing. If you’re open carrying and step in for a coffee or a baked good, the policy states that they will not even address your firearm unless you make it an issue. Which is the way it should be. If you want strangers to recognize your right to open carry, you should probably do it someplace else, and it appears if you get all “Shall not be infringed” in a store they will politely ask you to leave, and you should comply.

They aren’t going to be posting (binding or otherwise) signage in their stores, nor are they going to make issue for pedestrian carrying of firearms.

I personally have one Starbucks gift card I’ll need to use up, and then I’ll be done. I wasn’t a Starbucks Customer before this political side came to light, I won’t be a customer after. No harm, no foul. No offense, but I’m not a fan of their products or prices, but I was willing to overpay for mediocre tea, or down right terrible coffee to support them, and offset alleged “boycotts”.

I will cease and desist, and will do so with no hard feelings. They are not an anti-gun company like other groups are that directly ban firearms on premises, and support anti-rights politics with corporate monies. They simply don’t appreciate us bringing politics into their shops, and I can fully respect that.

Now what will be interesting is how the other side treats this. Its a hollow victory for them, as it only discourages protests and political actions by pro-gun groups. It does nothing to even inconvenience the individual gun owner or person who open carries. Since anti-rights advocates are unhappy people, I don’t see this sitting well with them, and I see more demands for boycotts or more hard-line measures….all without pro-gun people helping them out.

From Moms Demand Action:

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America launched a campaign pressuring Starbucks to eliminate guns from its stores nationwide in early July. Just two months later, Starbucks is announcing that the company will no longer allow guns on its property, both inside and outside of its stores. Until now, Starbucks allowed patrons to bring loaded firearms inside stores in states where concealed and open carry is permitted. According to Starbucks’ new policy, which goes into effect today, “Everyone is welcome in our stores, but weapons are not.”

“This is a huge win for American moms who fought for this policy change, which will make Starbucks customers safer. Because Starbucks is a business icon, this policy change represents a sea change in American culture, which is finally shifting away from allowing guns in public places,”

Ok that part is all bullshit. Starbucks still allows lawful carry in stores and on properties, and because of that it isn’t eliminating ANYTHING. At best they are discouraging the most flagrant of pro-gun activism. I’m fine with people open carrying AR-15s to educate people of the rights, and to show that 30-40 people can show up armed, drink some coffee, hand out some literature, and go home with no harm done. But let’s face it, the average citizen is simply carrying a pistol, concealed or not for their day-to-day defense, and the Starbucks policy really doesn’t effect the individual at all.

Now some truth:

Starbucks’ new policy stops short of a ban, and Moms Demand Action will continue to pressure the company if there are additional instances of accidental shootings and open carry rallies inside stores.

Sorry Starbucks, I think the gunnies will be more than willing to acquiesce to your request, but the other side isn’t as willing.

Best wishes to you.


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7 Responses to Starbucks Folds….Kinda

  1. Bob S. says:

    I think it is weaselly on the part of Starbucks.
    I preferred their previous position much more — we follow the state/federal laws; period.

    This tells me they believe in animism or deodands — “weapons aren’t welcome”? Really, so you are telling people their knives, their Macbooks (bludgeons), their iPhones (projectiles) aren’t welcomed also?

    Second, they line about not wanting to put their partners in the difficult position of enforcing a ban tells me they think Gun owners are dangerous, barely in control people who will go off when informed of the company policy. BUNK, nothing in the activities at any Starbucks indicates that.

    They could have came out and asked that ALL demonstrations or advocacy be stopped but they didn’t. I could have, would have supported that in a heartbeat.
    They are in business to make money selling coffee; having either group show up is bad for business. Just that asking Pro-Rights people not to show up is worse for business in my opinion. We’ve seen how previous anti rights boycotts have worked out.

    So, tell me that “weapons aren’t welcome” well since my weapon doesn’t drive, doesn’t walk, doesn’t bike down to the Starbucks; it must mean I’m not welcome because it only comes with me.

  2. The_Jack says:

    Of course it’s weasly. This is corporate speak. They’re also trying to thread the needle here.

    And by going with a purely symbolic “See we banned the deodands” they want to have their cake and eat it too.

    The problem comes that the antis won’t be happy with this and will keep pushing.

    I suppose the question is was Starbucks more worried about the negative press of OC longrifle events (which this will reduce) or about the boycotts and hectoring of the antis (which this will increase).

    There’s a reason that many of these stores that “ban” guns don’t even bother to put up signage (binding or otherwise). It’s one thing to have a corporate policy that a gun owner probably won’t read. It’s another to have a “We don’t want your money” sign on the front door.

  3. divemedic says:

    I guess I seem to be in the minority of gun owners here. I can’t fault Starbucks for this, and I think that this proves that the tactic of open carrying AR15s is stupid. If you want to make people aware of and accepting of guns, the number one rule is “Don’t upset Susie Soccermom.” The open carrying of handguns in a quality holster and a gun owner that doesn’t look like he is from the Klan or the Militia Hut will accomplish your goal, but carrying a gun that looks like you are invading North Pleasantville only upsets people.

    That is the exact opposite of what you want to accomplish, and that is exactly what happened here.

    • The_Jack says:

      I wouldn’t say minority. Robb Allen has basically that exact same point.

      And your soccer moms quote reminds me of something Prof Reynolds once said: “Something approved of by the majority of white middle class women, by definition cannot be illegal.”

      As for OC’ing the ar. I think Tam’s “2nd amendment cosplayers”/geeks vide says it right. Yes, it’s fun. But with the wrong audiance it doesn’t help your cause.

      Personally, I’m in line with Weerd. While I can’t much blame them for this policy, I’m not exactly a fan of their product. All things being neutral I wouldn’t patronize their stores. Thus I won’t.

      I can see a few gunnies doing that. Especially given how saturated the market is.

    • Bob S. says:


      I am not faulting Starbucks for having a policy; I’m faulting them for having a weaselly worded, middle of the road, not really making a decision but hey let’s insult a bunch of people in the process policy.

      I don’t think Open Carrying ARs is stupid; I think some of the folks have pushed it too far. There is a big difference between condemning the practice and condemning the extremists using that practice.

      I also think that we need all types to Open Carry; the “hey didn’t even notice” type of Open Carry is an incredibly gradual process. The “Hey in YOUR FACE” are often the least effective ambassadors for our cause but that is because we fail to use them correctly.
      Instead of throwing them under the bus for being “Visibly Armed Jerks” we should point out “So, let me get this right…some obnoxious jerks carried Rifles Openly at Starbucks and left you in peace — didn’t assault you, right?

      I would hesitate to read too much into WHY Starbucks did this until we know why. Maybe they are reacting to the Open Carry Advocates; maybe they are reacting to the antis pushing behind the scenes. Nothing in that letter indicates why.

      I have stated that we should respect their request to stay out of the fray; just go about our business armed or not. Now because they — not the antis, but Starbucks, have asked that Weapons be kept out of their locations, I’ll oblige and take my business else where.

    • mike w. says:

      Exactly. When you OC you are an advocate for the cause whether you want to be or not. As such, how non-gunnies view you is important. In a perfect world we could all OC, a “fuck you, I don’t care what anyone else thinks” attitude wouldn’t matter etc. Reality is, we don’t live in such a world.

      I OC almost daily, and I can count on one hand the number of negative reactions I’ve had. I’ve had far more positive reactions, and 99.9% of folks just don’t notice or don’t care. I’ve been asked to leave exactly once, by an unarmed security guard. I was polite, said OK, and left.

  4. Jake says:

    I see this as an unfortunate side-effect of certain people ignoring Starbuck’s declared neutrality on the issue, and dragging them into a fight they didn’t want to be in. In response, Starbucks has effectively said “Leave your argument outside”. The catch is that – from a practical and legal standpoint – it’s a lot easier to ask us not to bring guns into their stores and get results than it is to ask the other side to stop organizing (failed) boycotts and get results.

    And let’s face it – boycotts, almost by definition, take place outside the property of the business being boycotted. This means that it was our side* dragging this argument into their stores, and our side that was at fault.

    Open carry is a useful political tool, but it is important to remember that it’s an “in your face” tactic that can be pushed too far. Enough people pushed it too far in this case, and now it has backfired on all of us.

    Fortunately, the result was not as bad as it could have been, but it’s still a loss for us.

    * Whether you want them on our side or not, they were advocating for our side.

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