An anti-gun group is attempting to organize a nationwide Valentine's Day boycott of Starbucks over the coffee chain's gun policy.
Starbucks does not ban guns in its stores; rather, it defers to local laws. The National Gun Victim's Action Council (NGAC) says that amounts to a pro-gun policy that endangers customers.
"Starbucks allowing guns to be carried in thousands of their stores significantly increases everyone's risk of being a victim of gun violence," NGAC CEO Elliot Fineman said in a news release. "Open and conceal and carry are among the reasons there are 12,000 gun homicides each year in the U.S. If we had England's gun laws we would expect 375 gun homicides each year—97% less than we have. England's gun laws are based on protecting public safety, ours on maximizing sales for the gun industry."
The Starbucks policy hit the headlines in 2010 when gun owners decided to exercise their rights at national chains. Many responded by banning guns, but Starbucks refused. At the time Starbucks explained:
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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. That means we abide by the laws that permit open carry in 43 U.S. states. Where these laws don’t exist, openly carrying weapons in our stores is prohibited. The political, policy and legal debates around these issues belong in the legislatures and courts, not in our stores.
But NGAC's Fineman said it is just a bad policy, and hopes its boycott can change it.
"Starbucks steadfast support of the NRA's lethal pro-gun agenda damages its 'socially conscious company' brand," he said.