Skip to comments.Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz urges customers to not bring guns to cafes
Posted on 09/18/2013 6:18:11 AM PDT by Uncle Miltie
Starbucks says guns are no longer welcome in its cafes, though it is stopping short of an outright ban on firearms.
The fine line that the retailer is walking to address the concerns of both gun rights and gun control advocates reflects how heated the issue has become, particularly in light of recent mass shootings.
Most states allow people to openly carry licensed guns in some way and many companies do not have policies banning firearms in their stores. But Starbucks has become a target for gun control advocates, in part because of its liberal-leaning corporate image. In turn, gun rights advocates have been galvanized by the company's decision to defer to local laws.
In an interview with The Associated Press, CEO Howard Schultz said the decision to ask customers to stop bringing guns into stores came as a result of the growing frequency of "Starbucks Appreciation Days" in recent months, in which gun rights advocates turn up at Starbucks cafes with firearms.
Last month, for example, the company closed down a store in Newtown, Conn., for the day after learning that gun rights advocates planned to hold a "Starbucks Appreciation Day" at the location. The store was near the school where a gunman killed 20 children and six women.
Schultz said the events mischaracterized the company's stance on the issue and the demonstrations "have made our customers uncomfortable."
Schultz hopes people will honor the request not to bring in guns but says the company will nevertheless serve those who do.
"We will not ask you to leave," he said.
The Seattle-based company plans to buy ad space in major national newspapers including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and USA Today on Thursday to run an open letter from Schultz explaining the decision to not implement a 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," Schultz says in a copy of the letter provided to CBS News.
The letter points to recent activities by both gun rights and gun control advocates at its stores, saying that it has been "thrust unwillingly" into the middle of the national debate over firearms.
As for the "Starbucks Appreciation Days" being staged by gun rights advocates, it stresses: "To be clear: we do not want these events in our stores."
But the letter notes that Starbucks is standing by its position that the matter should ultimately be left to lawmakers.
The AP was provided a picture of a memo to Starbucks employees on Tuesday. Partners are instructed not to confront customers or ask them to leave solely for carrying a weapon.
Several companies do not allow firearms in their stores, however, apparently with little trouble. Representatives for Peet's Coffee & Tea and Whole Foods, for example, said there haven't been any problems with enforcing their gun bans.
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, which was formed the day after the Newtown shooting, has been organizing "Skip Starbucks Saturdays" to urge the coffee company to ban guns at its stores. Participants take photos of themselves at competitors such as Peet's that do not allow guns and post them online.
Shannon Watts, founder of the gun reform group, noted that Starbucks has taken strong stances on other issues. Earlier this year, for example, the company banned smoking within 25 feet of its stores, wherever its leases allowed. The idea was to extend its no-smoking policy to the outdoor seating areas.
"There's a big difference in the connotation of someone holding a gun and someone holding a cigarette," Schultz said.
In the meantime, Starbucks has become a symbol for advocates of gun rights. A website now even sells products bearing an altered version of the Starbucks logo, with the siren holding up a gun in each hand with the words "I Love Guns & Coffee."
who needs ya Starbucks, if all you want for customers is dipshit hippie types who think they are better than the rest of us and are totally dishonest, you took a big step toward that
Does this include cops? Most 7-11s and McDonalds give cops free coffee to encourage them to hang around and keep the criminal element out. Does Starbucks do this?
Even if all the gun rights supporters stop going it will probably have minimal effect on their bottom line. They must have gotten “THE phone call”.
I have your Gold Card; my business must not mean a lot to you.
I hope that Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz understands all he has done is establish 1400 more Free Kill Zones.
Note: Starbucks’ website has just gone down, at least for me.
To be honest I have never been in a Star Bucks and besides it would probably take me 30 minutes to figure out what kind of coffee I should buy.
Won’t be bringing my cash either.... Not that I ever did.
Too many of the Starbucks “Friends” demographic going wee-wee at the sight of evil “assault pistols”?
Don’t patronize them anyway, but why would you want to pay $6 for some swill served by a guy with sleeve tats and obongo ear rings?
Morning Joe an ultra lib shows main sponsor...Hummmm
I like Duncan Donuts coffee lots more than I do Starbucks..
Yeah, I’m not stopping going to Starbucks.
Carry concealed if you have a permit, if not, get one.
It’s worth noting that a recent poll (not sure where) rated McDonald’s coffee better in taste than Starbucks. Don’t know if I agree, but I will sure be shopping around now. Damned shame.
I’ll take my coffee black, and carry.
Never been in one.There is a book store in the Mall that has one in it.All the yuppie libs sit in there,reading, as if they were ultra intellectuals when all they are is ultra aholes
Their coffee isn’t worth $2.50 - $4.00 a cup. So I’ve never been there.
It’s a private company making poor business decisions by spouting off when they probably should shut up and sell coffee.
you must identify with the “cool” factor
CEO of starbucks
"We respect and follow the laws of the states, counties and cities where we do business"
and be done with it?
I spend a lot of money. One thing I refuse to buy is Starbucks coffee.
I may spend a lot, but I’m not stupid with it.
Overpriced and ridiculous. Besides, I just like it black.
Hey, those stores are private property. It’s his call.
If he wants to telegraph to every junkie street thug out there that it’s open season for holdups in his stores, that’s his business.
Someone needs to ask Schultz, how many times has someone openly carrying a firearm actually disrupted the business going on at the store?
People who open carry typically are the least confrontational people you can find, so this doesnt make much sense.
Can’t stand Starbucks .... don’t like the coffee or the stores. Unfortunately, my SIL gave me $30 worth of gift cards for Starbucks ... I could scream. I’ve been there twice and walked out with nothing .... I think I’m going to have to return the gift cards.
I'm going to DD from now on.
I think the next time I see a plainclothes cop in my usual Starbucks (just a few blocks from the police station) I will politely tell the manager that ‘that person with a gun is making me nervous’.
No need for the obvious.
He thinks he's God if he thinks he can keep people from packing. His arrogance is appalling.
“Wont be bringing my cash either.... Not that I ever did.”
That one sentence explains exactly why he said what he said. Gun owners/conservatives/gun rights supporters have never been Starbucks target audience. Urban and suburban liberals have always been Starbucks’ main source of revenue, and a handful of “Starbucks appreciation days” did not change that. If being perceived as gun friendly hurt them more with their liberal customers than it helped them with conservatives (likely, as I don’t know many conservatives who regularly pay absurd price for bad coffee), then this was a good business move.
For all of us who just wished that this or that corporation would stick to business and stay off the soapbox, this is exactly what we asked for. I have no problem with it.
Do you use one of those High Capacity Venti Assault Cups?
True. I hadn't thought about it but the gun-toters AREN'T Starbuckers, as a rule.
Thugs, bring your guns to Starbucks, no one will stop you.
Do you use one of those High Capacity Venti Assault Cups? >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Like you I use whatever comes to hand.
Haha. Not at all.
Starbucks sucks. They over roast their beans. McDonalds has better coffee for less money. Let them be a gun free zone and give some nut job another target site.
This is all because libtard agitators create a big scene about being “scared” or “offended” if someone is open carrying. I have to cut Starbucks some slack here - they want to sell coffee to as many customers as possible, not be involved in a political battle.
There. Fixed up his analogy.
Cops are allowed in Starbucks with their guns with the new policy.
Howard should have urged those with knives to stay away, given what has gone on in his home town of Seattle the last few weeks — with mental cases stabbing and killing innocents who happen to be walking down the unsafe streets there.
White Castle coffee is better than McDonald’s in my opinion.
Neither one is nearly as good as Starbucks, but they are much less expensive.
Dunkin Donuts is probably 3rd best inexpensive behind WC & MCD.
No more "Full Body Lattes" for me.
I find it hard to believe anyone would even think a liberal yuppie place like Starbucks would allow anything to do with guns.
Those that thought the open carry gun day at Starbucks was a good idea started this.
That was a dumb idea.Want to carry, do it concealed and keep it to yourself.....
Thanks for the hint, although we don’t have WC around here. I will probably hit McD’s after I use up my SB’s rewards, leaving a $2 bill as a tip each time. Cheap investment to make my point, plus I’ve become good friends with my local baristas. This is such a shame.