Starbucks has long had a policy of adhering to local "open-carry" gun laws: If you're legally allowed to walk around with a firearm, you can feel free to do it at Starbucks as well. (You never know when the barista is going to need a little "extra motivation" to get that order done quickly, are we right?)
Gun-rights advocates were so grateful for Starbucks' inclusiveness that they staged nationwide Starbucks Appreciation Day events all over the country — including Newtown, Connecticut — earlier this summer, in which gun owners patronized their local Starbucks while proudly brandishing their weapons.
But now that Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz thinks about, actually, he'd prefer that people just left their guns at home. From an open letter released today:
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.
Schultz goes out of his way in the letter to maintain a nonconfrontational and cordial tone with gun owners. He stresses that this is merely a "respectful request" that he hopes everyone will honor voluntarily, and not a hard ban. In fact, throughout the course of the letter, he uses the word respect five times. But if the reaction on social media is any indication, many gun owners would like to announce that Schultz can take his respectful request and shove it up his ass, respectfully:
It's a shame @Starbucks is afraid of over half it's possible customers. No matter, I will continue to open-carry,EVERYWHERE.Period.— Sean L (@Rubble70) September 18, 2013
Until the local Starbucks posts a sign legally forbidding carry there, I'll continue to do so. If I go at all.— Stephen Gutowski (@collegepolitico) September 18, 2013
But I’ll still carry my gun into any Starbucks I want. I’m not playing into their petty games.— Kevin (@Chug_A_Lugg) September 18, 2013