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.
His open letter was the equivalent of signs seen posted in old Western saloons and some current Southwestern eateries that politely request that “firearms please be left outside.” The statement from Schultz asked the same favor of his coffee customers.
In an interview with Peggy Noonan, Schultz revealed his research in preparing the letter, including conferring with folks on both sides of the gun issue and agonizing about a course of action that could make all customers comfortable.
Starbucks markets itself as a meeting place with its neighborhood locations and ever-present convenience. Coffee perhaps comes as an afterthought, maybe a mocha while social intercourse goes on. Turning away customers – be they pro-gun or pro-gun-control -- seemed something Schultz should avoid articulating in the letter.
On the pro-gun side, Schultz appeared to reason that licensed open carriers can carry openly in states where it’s legal. Such carriers are exercising their constitutional rights, perhaps just strutting their stuff, with little intention to confiscate the caffeine or raid the register with their guns on such public display.
On the pro-gun-control side, Schultz seemed to understand the intimidation that some might feel on witnessing somebody flouting their fire power in a coffee shop. Guns are scary. They impart an aura of ‘scary’ to the people carrying them. People want to meet people, not guns, in a Starbucks store.
Here’s where our liberties come into play. Customers of liberal persuasion have the freedom to walk away, but don’t. The liberty to leave does not compute among progressives. They expect Starbucks to do something about the situation and resent gun toters for exercising constitutional rights in their presence.
This must have caused a conundrum for Schultz in seeking not to alienate customers whatever their stance on guns or political persuasion. No businessman wants to scare anybody out of the store. His open letter was sincere, conciliatory for stepping on some folk’s rights, while acquiescing to the discomforts emoted by guns toted onto Starbucks premises.
After all, the guy makes business by making meetings among people, the raison d’etre for Starbucks besides the beverage. Requesting that firearms remain elsewhere gives all who enter Starbucks portals some sense of security.
Bravo to businessmen for finding ways that work.