Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz listens to anti gun activists, asks legal gun owners to stop “Appreciation Days.”
The CEO of the ubiquitous Starbucks Coffee chain has taken out full page ads in major U.S. newspapers to placate anti gun activists who Howard Schultz claims have been hassling his workers and customers over the issue of guns in the shops.
In an open letter (see it below) to customers which begins, “My Fellow Americans,” Schultz asks gun enthusiasts to stop appreciating Starbucks so much because it’s ticking off the anti gun folks.
“That’s why I am writing today with a respectful request that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas.”
The Starbucks CEO has kept an open mind about open carry: if it’s legal to openly carry a gun in a state, Starbucks allows guns in their stores. And gun rights enthusiasts have thanked Starbucks by holding what they call, “Starbucks Appreciation Days” across the nation. They’ve shown their appreciation in a tangible way, giving Starbucks lots of business and on a bumper sticker. See it nearby.
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.
Read that again,
…become increasingly uncivil and, in some cases, even threatening
Who’s doing the threatening? We find out in the next sentence,
Some anti-gun activists have also played a role in ratcheting up the rhetoric and friction, including soliciting and confronting our customers and partners.
Schultz’s letter attempts a nuanced stance: could you appreciate us WITHOUT the guns?! But the intent is unmistakable: gun enthusiasts are “disingenuous” about Starbucks’ motives while anti-gun enthusiasts are “threatening.” Who’s being asked to leave their rights at the curb? Gun owners.
I’m not going to vouch for every gun enthusiast who may run his mouth off at a protester, but I’m sure as heck not going to vouch for the usual rent-a-mobs we often see hassling, yelling, chanting and screaming at their political detractors. I’ve seen this movie too often. Anti fur protesters screaming mere inches from customers and committing acts of vandalism, phony fast food workers on ‘strike,’ SEIU thugs beating a (black) conservative guy selling T shirts and racist and homophobic epithets hurled at conservatives (including blacks and gays) gathering for a meeting.
Howard Schultz’s employees have seen them too. Does his letter ask those anti gun people to stop their collective hissy fits at his stores? No. He undoubtedly doesn’t want to spark a debate about first amendment rights. He is willing to ask second amendment enthusiasts to keep their guns at home, however.
Schultz said yesterday that the guns make his customers feel “uncomfortable.”
He forgot that gun owners are also his customers.
But with his public disavowal of gun owners openly carrying, he has given anti gun activists what they want, showing once again that a few loud voices can eclipse actual civil rights.
Here’s the full text of Howard Schultz’s letter:
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,
Compare and contrast. People smiling and drinking coffee juxtaposed to picketers.
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