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September 19, 2013 at 6:29 AM

Starbucks and guns: It doesn’t matter

CEO Howard Schultz at Starbucks' shareholder meeting earlier this year (Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times)

Howard Schultz at Starbucks’ shareholder meeting
(Photo by Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times)

The whole flap about Starbucks and guns strikes me as so much posturing.

In an open letter, Starbucks Chief Executive Howard Schultz has disinvited customers carrying guns from coming into a Starbucks. But he has also said that if they do come in they will be served, because he doesn’t want Starbucks employees having to ask an armed person to leave.

That is about what you’d expect a retailer to say. Starbucks is in the coffee business. It doesn’t want to have to ask customers to leave. And it doesn’t want to set up hostile situations for its employees. Schultz’s job isn’t to change society, or even to be intellectually bold. It’s to sell coffee.

Apparently his letter was written because the rabid gunners, who exercise their right to carry openly, have been having “Starbucks Appreciation Days” in Starbucks stores. And naturally, when some posse comes showing off personal artillery, other customers clear out. But how many gun owners do this?

I’ve never seen it. I’ve never seen anyone with a gun at Starbucks, except maybe a cop.

The AP story, out of New York, compares the statement about guns with the company’s ban on smoking within 25 feet of its stores. But a smoking ban is real, because smoking in public is a public act. Carrying a gun is not, unless you choose to pull it out.

All the difference in the world.

Comments | Topics: gun control, starbucks


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