Marketplace Scratch Pad

Coffee talk with firearms

Scott Jagow Mar 3, 2010

Gun control advocates are getting nowhere with Starbucks. While some businesses have banned gun-toting patrons in response to groups testing their Second Amendment rights, Starbucks is telling those folks to come on in and have a seat.

Starbucks issued a press release this morning saying:

While we deeply respect the views of all our customers, Starbucks long-standing approach to this issue remains unchanged. We comply with local laws and statutes in all the communities we serve. In this case, 43 of the 50 U.S. states have open carry weapon laws. Where these laws don’t exist, we comply with laws that prohibit the open carrying of weapons. The political, policy and legal debates around these issues belong in the legislatures and courts, not in our stores.

The reason Starbucks is explaining its position is that gun control groups are stepping up their pressure on the company. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence plans to protest today in front of the original Starbucks at Seattle’s Pike’s Place Market. It has also launched a petition drive, asking Starbucks to offer “espresso shots, not gun shots”:

It’s everyone’s right to sit in a restaurant or coffee shop with their families without intimidation or fear of guns, either concealed or openly carried.

Under the law, Starbucks has the right to adopt a gun-free policy, with an exception for uniformed police officers. Such a policy can easily be implemented in most cases by putting up signs at store entrances.

The practice of packing heat in places like Starbucks is intimidating and could be potentially dangerous to our families and communities – and it must be stopped.

The fight over this heated up a few weeks ago when gun enthusiasts in California began walking into restaurants, apparently to test their right to openly carry firearms in public. They were were told to leave several establishments, but not Starbucks. More from USA Today:

The advocacy group, a leading group encouraging the demonstrations, applauded Starbucks in a statement for “deciding not to discriminate against lawful gun carriers.”

“Starbucks is seen as a responsible corporation and they’re seen as a very progressive corporation, and this policy is very much in keeping with that,” said John Pierce, co-founder of “If you’re going to support individual rights, you have to support them all. I applaud them, and I’ve gone out of my way personally to let every manager of every Starbucks I pass know that.”

What will you tell every Starbucks manager you pass?

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