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Starbucks decision not as significant as some think

By   /   September 19, 2013  /   Comments

Yesterday, Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks issues an open letter, asking people to leave their guns outside of their stores.  This has, understandable, sparked a great deal of discussion in the gun community.  Personally, I’m not a big fan of Starbucks coffee, so it doesn’t really impact me at all.  However, there is a reason why this came about that need to be kept in mind.

Some time back, gun control advocates planned a boycott of Starbucks because the coffee chain refused to ban guns from the premises of its stores.  Gun rights activists responded with a “Starbucks Appreciation Day”.  Unfortunately, some people have taken it a bit far.

First, it’s important to note that Starbucks stance was that of “we’re going to go with the law where it is, and leave it there.”  It was illegal to carry into a Starbucks in any jurisdiction where it was illegal to carry into similar businesses, but legal in any other jurisdiction.  Starbucks official stance was really no stance at all.

However, many people saw Starbucks as being pro Second Amendment and open carried into the stores.  This, by itself, might not have been an issue except for those who carried AR-15′s into the stores to order a cup of coffee.  This was purely a political move that accomplished nothing except to make people uncomfortable.  Is that good or bad?  I personally have mixed opinions.  While I have open carried for political reasons – namely to educate people that it is indeed legal to open carry in Georgia – I wouldn’t have carried a long gun into a coffee shop that took a pretty neutral stance on guns.

Yesterday, that ended.  Sort of.  While Schultz would prefer people leave their guns at home, at no point in his letter did he mention concealed weapons, and Starbucks official policy regarding the presence of guns in their store hasn’t changed.  If you open carry a pistol into a local Starbucks, they’ll still fix you a cup of coffee.

For many people, that’s not enough.  That’s fine.  Not every business will take an official stand on an issue as divisive as guns are, mostly because they don’t like losing out on potential business.  That was the core of the Starbucks stance in the first place.  They tried to straddle the fence.  In a way, they still are.

However, next time the pro-Second Amendment crowd tries to support a business that refuses to cave to gun control pressures, try to leave the long guns at home.  Carry your weapons as you normally would, just go and buy from that business.  An email to the company telling them why you bought that day would also help.  Trying to make a political statement on their private property?  Not so much.

Today, not much has change from last week at Starbucks regarding guns.  Only now, the CEO is asking you not to bring them.  He’s not about to force the issue though by trying to ban the guns.  If you still like overpriced coffee, then keep going and buying your coffee.  If you bought Starbucks solely as support for a business that supported the Second Amendment, then you probably should have looked deeper into their statements to see that they really did no such thing.

Tom Knighton is the Editor and Publisher of the Albany Journal.

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Owner / Editor / Writer

Tom Knighton is the publisher of The Albany Journal. In November, 2011, he became the first blogger to take over a newspaper anywhere in the world. In August of 2012, he made the difficult decision to take the Journal out of print circulation and become an online news agency, a first for the Albany area.

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