Starbucks has become the unwitting battleground of a movement. One that by trying to sidestep, it may have stepped deeper into. Its stores have been the target of some Second Amendment advocates who are raising awareness about “open carry” rights. Bringing guns with them in order to start a dialogue about when and where people can carry. But Starbucks wants to shut ’em up, and shut ’em down.
Until now, “open carry” types have praised Starbucks for its policy of following local, state, and federal laws about guns. Essentially, if it’s okay to carry where you live, it’s okay to carry in a Starbucks. But now, Starbucks is changing its tone. It plans to run ads, asking owners to leave their guns outside. CEO Howard Schultz says, “We are respectfully requesting that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas. This is a request and not an outright ban.”
They say they’ll still serve anyone who chooses to carry inside a store, they just don’t want to be the battleground for the issue. Tying into a political topic can be a risky move for a business. Case in point: Chick-fil-A. About a year ago, after company President Dan Cathy made a “pro-traditional marriage” statement, and ipso-facto an “anti-gay marriage” statement, the company saw a swirl of support with record sales at their stores. But it also saw a massive amount of backlash that splits people even today.
But the difference here is, Chick-fil-A’s president walked into the controversy. Starbucks’ is trying to stay out. But for some, a request is as good as a demand. And so our Man on the Edge, Robert Wilder, asked if you would support Starbucks if it does ban guns.