The debate over the Second Amendment is heating up again since the mass shooting at a Navy Yard in Washington, DC, on Monday. Joseph Cotto states in his article, in the Washington Times, “Hopefully, more Americans will come to recognize that the Second Amendment is not to be trampled upon, yet ought to be interpreted in a reasonable fashion.” Any supporter of the US Constitution can identify the problem with that statement. The Second Amendment is clear; however, there are too many individuals who are already interpreting that amendment when no interpretation is necessary. There are also individuals trying to straddle the fence between pro-Second Amendment advocates and gun-control activists.
One of these individuals happens to be Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks. In an open letter published on the blog section of the Starbucks website, Schultz is respectfully requesting “that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas.” Schultz declares this is not a ban, but a request to give “responsible gun owners the chance to respect” the request.
Here is the entire letter, as posted on the Starbucks website:
Dear Fellow Americans,
Few topics in America generate a more polarized and emotional debate than guns. In recent months, Starbucks stores and our partners (employees) who work in our stores have been thrust unwillingly into the middle of this debate. That’s why I am writing today with a respectful request that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas.
From the beginning, our vision at Starbucks has been to create a “third place” between home and work where people can come together to enjoy the peace and pleasure of coffee and community. Our values have always centered on building community rather than dividing people, and our stores exist to give every customer a safe and comfortable respite from the concerns of daily life.
We appreciate that there is a highly sensitive balance of rights and responsibilities surrounding America’s gun laws, and we recognize the deep passion for and against the “open carry” laws adopted by many states. (In the United States, “open carry” is the term used for openly carrying a firearm in public.) For years we have listened carefully to input from our customers, partners, community leaders and voices on both sides of this complicated, highly charged issue.
Our company’s longstanding approach to “open carry” has been to follow local laws: we permit it in states where allowed and we prohibit it in states where these laws don’t exist. We have chosen this approach because we believe our store partners should not be put in the uncomfortable position of requiring customers to disarm or leave our stores. We believe that gun policy should be addressed by government and law enforcement—not by Starbucks and our store partners.
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.
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.
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.
Paragraph 5 is the key in the entire letter. According to Schultz, the company approach to “open carry” is to follow the local laws; however, the “open carry” debate has become “increasingly uncivil and, in some cases, even threatening.” Schultz cites pro-gun advocates using Starbucks as a “political stage for media events” termed “Starbucks Appreciation Days.” He believes this misleads the public into believing that Starbucks is a supporter of “open carry.” To top it all off, Schultz says anti-gun activists have had a hand in this policy by escalating “rhetoric and friction, including soliciting and confronting our customers and partners.”
So, Howard doesn’t like “Starbucks Appreciation Days” and gun-control activists have ramped up the friction by “soliciting and confronting customers and partners;” therefore, he “requests” no guns in the stores. Way to cave to the progressive liberals, Howard. If the law is “open carry” and you support the law as you say, you should tell your anti-gun activists to take their complaints up with the local government and call law enforcement when they harass your law abiding customers. But, you really aren’t a supporter of the law, are you?
According to CNSnews.com:
Most states allow people to openly carry licensed guns in some way and many companies do not have laws 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 which gun rights advocates turned up at Starbucks cafes with firearms.
Schultz said the events mischaracterized the company’s stance on the issue and the demonstrations “have made our customers uncomfortable.”
Schultz hopes people will honor the request not to bring in guns but says the company will nevertheless serve those who do.
Schultz states that Starbucks stores and partners have been “thrust unwillingly” into the middle of the gun debate. Moms Demand Action founder, Shannon Watts, has been organizing “Skip Starbucks Saturdays” since right after the Newtown shootings to urge the company to ban guns at its stores. The gun reform group has participants take photos of themselves at competitors who do not allow guns and then post them on the internet. According to Watts, Starbucks has taken strong stances on other issues, such as smoking. The company has a ban on smoking within 25 feet of its stores.
It looks as if gun control activists were holding Starbucks hostage by denying patronage, aka money, unless they ban guns in their stores while gun advocates were supporting Starbucks for its policy in upholding the law. In the end, the money wins out as the underlined statement in Schultz’s letter says it all; “… 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.”
Starbucks’ position to now support the gun control activists may now cost them the support of gun rights advocates. One could presume Schultz is actually a gun control activist who needed a justification for issuing a ban other than his personal views. His attempt to straddle the gun issue – which there really should not be one as the Second Amendment is clear – has blown up in his face, and he is choosing the preferable side for the liberal-leaning company.
Wonder how he feels about concealed carry weapons in the stores and tanks coming through the drive-up windows?Don't forget to Like Freedom Outpost on Facebook and Twitter, and follow our friends at RepublicanLegion.com.