If you follow anything resembling politics at all, you have undoubtedly heard by now...Starbucks says no guns.
You know how it all started...a few months ago some patrons at a Starbucks felt uncomfortable in the presence of another Starbucks customer that was legally open carrying their firearm. (For those that may be unaware, open carrying refers to carrying a firearm in plain view of others around you, similar to the way a police officer carries a firearm.) Those patrons complained to Starbucks, and Starbucks issued a statement that said that they would not interfere with patrons operating lawfully within their establishments. Basically, if it's legal where you are at then you can open carry, and if it's illegal then you can not.
Gun advocates celebrated the statement. Especially since so many conservatives were very anti-Starbucks due to some false stories floating around the internet about Starbucks not supporting our troops, this was an especially interesting turnaround regarding public perception of the Starbucks brand.
In return, the anti-gun lobby responded equally loudly. They would also stage events at Starbucks locations to show that they disagreed with the positions that Starbucks had put forth. They despised the fact that Starbucks wouldn't make a strong stand in their favor, and just tell gun owners to take their business and their firearms elsewhere.
Well, that all came to an end yesterday, when Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz issued a new statement on guns via a blog posted on the coffee giant's website.
"...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."
Aaaaannnnndddd cue the outrage.
As you might imagine, the immediate response from people on both sides of the issue was overwhelming. Those that were celebrating the original Starbucks statement were suddenly irate that the company would ever go down this path. Protesters of the original Starbucks statement were suddenly strong Starbucks supporters again.
But what did Starbucks REALLY say with each statement???
Basically...they just said to leave them alone and leave them out of the discussion.
The reality is that everything would be better for gun advocates if, after Starbucks' first statement was released, they would have just left Starbucks alone. Instead, gun advocates stomped on Starbucks' original statement as some broad statement of support that it was not. Starbucks basically said they don't want to get involved, and gun advocates paraded the statement as if Starbucks had said they were on their side.
But the simple reality was that neither side was properly embracing what Starbucks wanted. Starbucks had, for all intents and purposes, only said one thing: "listen...as long as your legal we don't care...but, PLEASE, leave us out of this. We don't want to be involved."
So, now, Starbucks has done what was left for them to do. And that is where we truly are with them today. They just want left out of this. They said, "if you're legal it's ok, just leave us alone." But they weren't left alone...they were turned into a 2nd amendment warzone.
So, now, they've come out and said, "Eff you. We asked to be left alone, and you instead turned us into a political pawn. We're not going to ban bringing guns in, but, please, just leave them outside. Please, just leave us alone."
And, really, that's all I think that Starbucks is saying. And I think it is all they have been saying from the beginning. Their original statement simply said they don't want involved. But instead they were made a focal point of the gun rights war, so they replied.
"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."
Really, I don't think that I can blame Starbucks for their recent position. And truthfully, I think Schultz handled it rather well. He even said that they weren't banning guns, they were just asking nicely for you not to bring them inside. He stated that they wouldn't be asking you to leave if you carried, just that you please respect their wishes to not do so.
Of course, no matter what side of the gun debate you are on, you are free to respond how you wish. If you are a gun owner, maybe you stop going to Starbucks. Or try to find somewhere else first. And if you hate guns, then maybe you pop into Starbucks a little more often to show support. I rarely open carry, but I am a gun owner and I do carry concealed. Nonetheless, I will still go to Starbucks once or twice a week, just as I did before now.
In the end, other than a possible little hiccup for the first few days, I don't think Starbucks business will be too drastically affected by this statement. Nor do I think it should be.
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