Can Starbucks Stay Neutral in Gun Debate?


Coffee giant Starbucks says it will not issue a new policy regarding guns in its stores, and is asking that it not be put into the middle of the contentious debate.

The Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence has asked Starbucks to ban the open carrying of guns in its stores. But gun advocates urged Starbucks not to. After weeks of back and forth argument between groups on both sides of the gun issue, Starbucks finally spoke out Wednesday, issuing a statement basically saying that nothing has changed:

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. In this case, 43 of the 50 U.S. states have open carry weapon laws. Where these laws don’t exist, we comply with laws that prohibit the open carrying of weapons. The political, policy and legal debates around these issues belong in the legislatures and courts, not in our stores...

We have examined this issue through the lens of partner (employee) and customer safety. Were we to adopt a policy different from local laws allowing open carry, we would be forced to require our partners to ask law abiding customers to leave our stores, putting our partners in an unfair and potentially unsafe position.

Starbucks was thrust into this issue, some might say unfairly, by the opposing groups. The open carry advocates have urged people to go into Starbucks stores with their guns in full view. And the opponents pressured Starbucks to ban guns. In the statement, Starbucks politely asks to be kept out of it in the future:

As the public debate continues, we are asking all interested parties to refrain from putting Starbucks or our partners into the middle of this divisive issue.


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