Want to open carry at Starbucks?

Sorry, that’s not going to happen any longer.

I’m going to do something in this blog entry I haven’t done. I’m going to slam some gun owners. Specifically I’m going to address open carry advocates – not all of you – but those of you who insist on bringing drama and screeching from the rooftops about how you’re going to exercise your rights, instead of just doing so.

See, Starbucks policy has always been to abide by the state law. They welcomed open carry, concealed carry and non carry coffee drinkers to their stores, as long as state law was followed. They didn’t want to be in the middle of a gun control debate. They just wanted to serve coffee and make money.

Unfortunately some concealed carry advocates decided that simply exercising their rights wasn’t enough. They thought it was a great idea to rub their ability to do so into the faces of those who oppose that right by drawing attention to themselves at Starbucks, staging media events, such as “Starbucks Appreciation Days,” claiming Starbucks is some kind of open carry champion, instead of a damn coffee shop! To be fair, the hoplophobes did what hoplophobes do – confronted, abused and castigated people merely for exercising their rights. But that’s nothing new and different.

Look… no one is saying you shouldn’t exercise your rights. They are your rights and you should be free to assert them. But what you people have done is drag a company into a political debate – a debate it wanted no part of.

Yes, Starbucks is left-leaning, but you know what? They respected your rights, and didn’t want to discriminate against those willing to exercise them.

So instead of exercising your rights in a peaceful manner, you people decided to thump your chests and screech about your rights from the rooftops.

What was the result?

Well, according to an open letter from Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, you are no longer welcome there with your firearms.

Our company’s longstanding approach to “open carry” has been to follow local laws: we permit it in states where allowed and we prohibit it in states where these laws don’t exist. We have chosen this approach because we believe our store partners should not be put in the uncomfortable position of requiring customers to disarm or leave our stores. We believe that gun policy should be addressed by government and law enforcement—not by Starbucks and our store partners.


For these reasons, 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.

I would like to clarify two points. First, this is a request and not an outright 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. Second, 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.

Congrats, open carry advocates!

You have accomplished something gun-banning asstards couldn’t. You have caused Starbucks to decide that you are no longer welcome with your firearms. Don’t blame them! You had every opportunity to exercise your rights in peace. You had every opportunity to simply get your coffee, assert your rights and move on. Instead you created drama and dragged a coffee company into the middle of one of the most contentious debates in the United States! Instead of getting your coffee and being on your way, like a kid with a new toy, you had to show how cool you were by loudly proclaiming your rights and your exercise thereof (although tactically, it’s better to carry concealed anyway).

Starbucks is a business. They’re in the business of serving overpriced coffee, not championing your rights. Your “Appreciation Days” have wreaked havoc and caused a disruption to their business.  And like any business, they have changed their policy in order to protect their profits.

This is not about your rights. They didn’t even ban you outright. They simply requested that you cease and desist visiting their stores if you insist on loudly exercising your rights to the detriment of their business. You are no longer welcome there.

And you have no one to blame but yourselves.


20 responses

  1. I generally do not go to Starbucks. To expensive. Make my own. It’s cheaper and I like mine better. However, in my state (CO) I can walk in a Starbucks or pretty much any other place carrying concealed… because you know, concealed means CONCEALED. So, they can pound sand. Signs or no signs, they can’t make me NOT come in. State law.


    1. Yes, concealed means concealed. You are free to buy coffee there or not. But I would ask you to have some respect for their request – it is their property and those are their stores. You wouldn’t want someone with a bag of pot in their pocket to enter your home (well, I wouldn’t. YMMV), even if you don’t know it’s there. Have that same respect for the coffee shop’s right to request you no longer patronize their place with your firearm. It’s as simple as that.


      1. I have no respect for people attempting to take away my rights. Just as they have no respect for my rights.

        There’s a difference in entering a private home in Colorado and a “private business open to the public”. The difference is if someone enters your house with a weapon and they aren’t invited in they are probably a danger to you. If you enter a private business (you are invited in, under the terms of the law of this state) armed and you’re going about YOUR business legally (legally armed, with a concealed carry permit, and with no intention to harm anyone) then you are well within your rights and the business can’t tell you not to come in “just because you’re armed”. It’s been tested here. What happens in YOUR state is your problem and your issue. Not mine. (If they come in my house with a bag of pot, I’d tell them to take it back to their car – it’s not LEGAL to have, even though the state says it is – because there are still federal laws against it… and there are other conditions that concern me personally where pot becomes a serious problem – I won’t detail those here)


        1. They’re not attempting to take away your rights. This is an overreaction on your part. They have every right and should have every right to refuse service to you for whatever reason – whether it’s for not wearing shoes or wearing a gun. Just like you have the right to refuse entry to your home for any reason you desire. Your home should be respected, just like your business should. Period.


        2. No, you’re right. I’m not over reacting however. I’m not talking about Starbucks specifically here. A former city councilman in our city owns and runs a book store. He is a loudmouthed, anti-gun progressive who tried to shove progressive ideas down our kids throats as a school board member, then later tried to (and forced) banning of guns in all sorts of places in the city. He still owns his little shop, but it barely gets by because of his “NO GUNS” policy. This is a strongly conservative area, and regardless of who you are on the political spectrum guns are a part of our lives here in the part of the west. The point was made when most of his customers stopped shopping there and opted to do so elsewhere. Last I heard his shop only barely makes rent, he’s no longer on the city council and when he tried to run for mayor a couple of years back he was SOUNDLY trounced.

          Business owners that don’t like guns should not start businesses in places where the vast majority of the population is armed – and then advertise the fact they “don’t like guns”. Especially not in a state where the state law says “signs are irrelevant”.


        3. Oh, I totally agree there! That store is prime example of free market at play.


  2. Eep…I’m torn on this one. Altough I never did partake of the “starbucks appreciation day” stuff, I supported it for what it was originally intended to do…show appreciation to a company that remained nuetral by spending my hard-earned cash at said nuetral locale.

    Did the gesture of support get hijacked by extremist factions in tghe gun-rights side? Absolutely did. Same as a seemingly well-intentioned gesture gets hijacked by extremists on the left…Occupy Wall Street is a prime example. What started as basically a small group of protestors trying to get out their message attracted the worst of the worst of the left…the societal dreggs, drugusers, outcasts, etc. I will say this…folks will be watching this as a litmus test. Analysis will be done on Starbucks during their earnings call to Wall Street (they are, after all, a publically traded co.) And the trending numbers, based on pre- and post- Sept 17th letter, will determine how this shakes out, and will affect how other gun-friendly places handle the push by the anti-gun side.

    It had to happen sooner or later. Now we’ll get to see what the net effects will be in the coming months.


  3. Starbucks is NOT on my list of places to go–“permission” to carry a gun there or not. I don’t patronize ANY company that’s as vocally leftist as the owners of Starbucks are…period. Secondly, their “products” are “WAY overpriced for what you get. Finally, I don’t need ANYONE’S “permission” to carry a firearm…period. Not the Starbuck management and not even Obama himself. If, in my sole descretionary opinion, it’s wise to carry…I’ll carry. Damn the consequences.


    1. They’re not telling you not to carry. They’re ASKING you not to carry in their stores. Huge difference. And I don’t even drink their coffee. Especially not after a month in Europe!


  4. I agree with you Nicki, I’m licensed for concealed carry, and did in a colorado Starbucks last week, CONCEALED ! I infringed on nobody’s rights, caused no scene ! But all they have to do is post the no concealed carry stickers on their doors and nobody can carry there, concealed or not. It is a right to possess firearms, but carry is a license/state law issue, not the bill of rights .


    1. Charles, as far as I know, they’re not posting anything. The CEO made a request, and he is counting on gun rights advocates to be polite and considerate of their request on their property. There is no ban. But the fact that gun rights advocates are no longer welcome there speaks volumes for their behavior. That is not how we behave – both as human beings and as Second Amendment supporters.


  5. Finally someone has said it! Thank you Nicki, thank you.


  6. The “look at me! look at me” faction of the Open Carry movement had to ruin it for everyone (with not insignificant help from protesting anti’s)

    Starbucks just wanted to be left out of this and sell coffee, not be the town forum for political activism. Instead some folks helped force their hand.

    I don’t have a CCDW in my state, so I open carry everyday, but I’m not rude about it, I’m not “in your face” I just go about my daily business, and *gasp* actually think about how I might be received by people who aren’t pro-gun (especially the anti-gun media)


    1. And I don’t give a rat’s patootie what anyone else thinks about me and whether or not I’m carrying…certainly not what the anti-gun media thinks. I don’t carry openly under normal circumstances and can’t really think of a circumstance in today’s society in which I WOULD openly carry a rifle or shotgun….or, I suppose, a pistol. I would want any attacker to be totally shocked at what they’d get if picking me as a victim. For one thing, shock makes THEM a bad shot.


  7. Yeah, I’m of two minds about this. On the one hand, I’m all for open carry; on the other, OCing rifles and shotguns just to get coffee is ridiculous and clearly a “Look at me” sort of thing.

    So I guess that makes me a hypocrite of sorts, being okay with OC of pistols but not okay with OC of long guns?

    Ah well. This is why we can’t have nice things.


    1. I don’t believe you’re being a hypocrite, Erin. We conceal weapons for a reason – mostly tactical. We have smaller pistols for a reason – convenient, light, tactical, etc. Toting a rifle or shotgun into a coffee shop is just screaming “HEY! LOOK HOW COOL I AM! LOOK AT ME!”


  8. I see interesting parallels between this and lunch-counter sit-ins in the 60′s…. And I can’t help but note that Constitutional Rights do not, and never should, require camouflage.

    That said, I don’t think the gun carriers were in the wrong. No-one, that I’ve heard of, acted in a threatening manner. If Starbucks wants to attempt to appease the pearl-clutchers, while not offending the Constitutionalists… I predict they will not please either group, and suffer accordingly. Last I had heard, their sales were actually UP due to the gun-crowd. SB may have just “shot themselves in the foot”.


    1. I have to disagree. Starbucks didn’t say it wouldn’t serve you if you came in with a gun. It hasn’t posted signs on its doors prohibiting firearms. Read the letter. They ASK people to not bring firearms into THEIR stores. They ASK for some consideration for their business, which by the way was not offered when OC advocates decided to hold their screeching rights assertion at their stores.

      This has NOTHING to do with your rights. ZERO.


  9. My thought is, why did Starbucks go political? They were neutral, kind of like Switzerland, and said they would just respect local laws. Their CEO should be removed by the Board for writing his polite letter. It served no purpose except to offend firearms owners and did nothing to appease gun-grabbers. I guess I now have to add Starbucks to the list of those that I will not spend money on.


    1. Firearms owners shouldn’t be offended by this letter. Starbucks was dragged kicking and screaming into the middle of this debate, even though they chose to just remain neutral on the issue. But when you have gatherings of numerous OC advocates toting rifles, media, signs, etc. in a coffee store that just wants to serve coffee, the step to take is to ASK people politely to stop. That exactly what they did.

      As a gun owner and gun rights advocate, I say, stop being butt hurt and understand what’s responsible for this change in policy.


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