On the 17th of September, the CEO of Starbucks has requested legally licensed gun owners do not carry weapons into their establishments.
Following is the full transcript of Mr. Howard Schultz’s letter.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Posted by Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman, president and chief executive officer
Dear Fellow Americans,
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.
From the beginning, our vision at Starbucks has been to create a “third place” between home and work where people can come together to enjoy the peace and pleasure of coffee and community. Our values have always centered on building community rather than dividing people, and our stores exist to give every customer a safe and comfortable respite from the concerns of daily life.
We appreciate that there is a highly sensitive balance of rights and responsibilities surrounding America’s gun laws, and we recognize the deep passion for and against the “open carry” laws adopted by many states. (In the United States, “open carry” is the term used for openly carrying a firearm in public.) For years we have listened carefully to input from our customers, partners, community leaders and voices on both sides of this complicated, highly charged issue.
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.
Recently, however, we’ve seen the “open carry” debate become increasingly uncivil and, in some cases, even threatening. Pro-gun activists have used our stores as a political stage for media events misleadingly called “Starbucks Appreciation Days” that disingenuously portray Starbucks as a champion of “open carry.” To be clear: we do not want these events in our stores. Some anti-gun activists have also played a role in ratcheting up the rhetoric and friction, including soliciting and confronting our customers and 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.
I am proud of our country and our heritage of civil discourse and debate. It is in this spirit that we make today’s request. Whatever your view, I encourage you to be responsible and respectful of each other as citizens and neighbors.
~ ~ oOo ~ ~
Mr. Schultz, what you have effectively done is to declare open season on any “Game Bird” that chooses to use your establishments, in ANY locale. You have effectively declared open season on your patrons, without chance of self-defense or defense of your other patrons by those licensed and trained in Concealed Carry.
The Comments on the page of this press release run the gamut of opinion, and that’s fine. So, let me put my two cents in.
I will not go into a known “gun free zone”, where guns are forbidden, as there is no chance of self-protection, NOR protection of other personnel in the establishment. As has been noted in the past few months, there have been multiple incidents of multiple shooting deaths and injuries in so-called, “Gun Free Zones”. It is truly said, that when and where guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.
It is well known and recognized that individuals who have chosen to carry arms OPENLY are moral, ethical and mentally and emotionally balanced individuals. This also applies even more so, to those who are licensed for concealed carry.
You have chosen to alienate and denigrate the vast majority of individuals who have chosen to be armed for their own protection, AS WELL AS the protection of the innocent who do not, for one reason or another, choose to be armed.
Your company, Mr. Schultz, has seen my last dime, and that is inclusive of the Starbucks coffees in various retail outlets.
That is my response to your “respectful request” for my inability to defend myself in any of your establishments, local law permitting or not.
~ ~ Grouchy ~ ~