Just days after 12 people were killed in the Washington Navy Yard shootings, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz penned an open letter to his customers respectfully requesting that they no longer bring guns into their 7,000 coffee shops. The company, which had previously supported by local “open carry” laws, has reversed its stance on firearms due to a recent “open carry” rally gone awry outside of a San Antonio store and some kerfuffles between pro and anti-gun activists. Read an excerpt from Schultz’s letter after the jump.
“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.”
Slow clap. Whatever your feelings are about firearms, I firmly believe that guns are not necessary while sipping your morning latte. I respect Starbuck’s stance to make their stores safer. I’ll drink a cup of joe to that.