On Wednesday, Starbucks CEO reversed the coffee-chain's stand on open-carry in their stores.
No more “guns with your lattes” labels for Starbucks.
Last month the Seattle-based coffee chain became the symbolic business poster child for open-gun carrying during a series of gun appreciation day events held by several stores in Washington state. The crusade was met by anti-gun opposition that sponsored “Skip Starbucks Saturday” protests.
Gun-toting people showed up in droves to support Starbucks open carry policy, but on Wednesday, the day after another mass murder at the Naval yard in Washington D.C., Starbucks CEO decided he no longer wanted his stores caught in the national debate and sent out a customer letter asking them to refrain from carrying guns in Starbuck stores.
“Few topics in America generate a more polarized and emotional debate than guns. In recent months, Starbucks stores and our partners (employees) who work in our stores have been thrust unwillingly into the middle of this debate. That's why I am writing today with a respectful request that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas.”
Schultz, who said the events mischaracterized the company’s stance on the gun debate, was concerned about the growing number of events, which opponents felt was just a disaster waiting to happen, which were increasingly making customers uncomfortable.
Critics question Shultz’s description of being “thrust unwillingly” into the gun debate, because surely their stores were not forced into hosting “gun appreciation” days.
According to the Associated Press, Starbucks is not actually banning guns in their stores and won’t ask people to leave who carry them anyway, because Shultz doesn’t want to put his employees in the position of confronting gun-packing customers.
"We will not ask you to leave," said Shultz in his letter, but he hopes customers will honor the request.
The giant coffee chain intends to take out ad space in several major publications on Thursday for Shultz to explain his way out of the debacle Starbucks has gotten into by organically becoming entrenched in what many feel is the wrong side of the gun control debate.
The publications will include the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times and USA Today.
The Washington chapter of Moms Demand Action (MDA) was a major group involved in protesting Starbucks gun fests, because they claim the stores had three accidental inside shootings in the past two years, so guns don’t belong in a place where families gather.
“How do I take my coffee? Without any extra shots,” said Lori Pender, a member of MDA. Their main activity is gathering signatures for legislation requiring background checks on all gun purchases in Washington.
MDA, other anti-gun advocacy groups and many pro-gun-control lawmakers will consider Shultz’s decision a small victory in the face of increasing gun violence in the US.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) has yet to weigh in on Starbucks gun-toting reversal.