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Starbucks CEO Wrongly Tells Shareholders: Guns Can't be Loaded

SEATTLE --- The Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Starbucks Coffee Company, responding to shareholder questions at the company’s annual meeting about Starbucks’ policy of allowing firearms to be carried into its stores, erred seriously in his answer to the questions.

CEO Howard Schultz said that only unloaded guns could be brought into Starbucks stores.  That is untrue.  Only two of the states that permit “open carry” of firearms require the guns to be unloaded.  All other states that allow “open carry” allow loaded guns to be carried.

In all, three questions were asked, and one comment made, about the company’s permissive guns policy.  Mr. Schultz asked his public relations staff to answer the first, but then he responded to the second and third.  Both times, he said the law only allowed unloaded guns.

“Starbucks has been saying its policy just follows state law,” said Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.  “Not only does Starbucks have the legal right to keep guns out of its stores, but Mr. Schultz apparently does not know that most states allow the guns to be loaded. Once Mr. Schultz realizes how dangerous Starbucks’ policy really is, we hope he will act immediately to change it.”

The Brady Campaign launched a petition online in February, in partnership with CREDO Action, asking Americans to urge Starbucks to bar guns from its stores.  So far more than 34,000 have signed. The Brady Campaign has also posted videos related to the Starbucks issue on its YouTube page. View them at

Volunteers with Washington Ceasefire and the Washington Million Mom March Chapters distributed information about the company’s gun policy this morning to shareholders arriving for the meeting. 

 More information about “open carry,” including which states allow it, is at


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