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In letter to Americans, Starbucks CEO asks customers to no longer bring guns into stores

SEATTLE — Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz requested in an open letter to all Americans Tuesday that customers no longer bring firearms into Starbucks coffee shops or outdoor seating areas.

“Few topics in America generate a more polarized and emotional debate than guns,” Schultz wrote. “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.”

Howard-Schultz-Starbucks1He later went on to say, “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,” he said.

———————-

The full letter is below:

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.

Sincerely,

Howard Schultz

 

VIEW & ADD COMMENTS

13 Comments to “In letter to Americans, Starbucks CEO asks customers to no longer bring guns into stores”

    Sealrus said:
    September 18, 2013 at 12:06 AM

    Ask the customers to not do an open carry in your place of business. By reading the headlines the media makes it sound like you don't want people with conceal permits in your place of business.

    JoJo said:
    September 18, 2013 at 6:06 AM

    I now like Starbucks a little more

    John Fuller said:
    September 18, 2013 at 8:42 AM

    I don't see why gun owners are still going to Starbucks in the first place. All of my friends in downtown Seattle stopped going to Starbucks years ago… There are far better coffee houses in Seattle and hopefully in other cities across the United States. It's time to move beyond over-priced coffee that tastes burnt. Even McDonald's has a better deal on coffee than Starbucks. The main reason that I stopped going to Starbucks is due to bad service. Not all stores are the same. I've seen minorities go in Starbucks and place orders and then 7 or 8 customers place orders after them and the black or Hispanic person is still waiting for his or her order after the 7 or 8 customers after them have already been served. I've seen this at least 10 times in different stores that are usually in white areas that do not see many minority customers.

      Willy Nilly said:
      September 18, 2013 at 10:20 AM

      What a load of BS.

        John Fuller said:
        September 18, 2013 at 10:46 AM

        Nobody asked you… IDIOT!

    Ryan Emerson said:
    September 18, 2013 at 8:44 AM

    I just don’t understand why people even drink that coffee, it is so burnt it tastes awful. I’ve had better coffee at a jiffy lube. Seriously America there’s better coffee and its not hard to find

      Kit said:
      September 18, 2013 at 10:21 AM

      Tastes great and the stock is even better!

      John Fuller said:
      September 18, 2013 at 10:47 AM

      I agree. Jiffy Lube is actually pretty good…

        Ralph said:
        September 18, 2013 at 1:09 PM

        SBUX all the way! The haters have no taste : )

    Glenn said:
    September 18, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    No problem I will not bring one in Starbucks ,but I will not go in another one either.

    Dede said:
    September 18, 2013 at 6:49 PM

    i guess starbucks does not want any more of my business then

    Brandon Jones said:
    September 19, 2013 at 11:04 PM

    It's okay. I don't open carry; I carry concealed. I will still go to Starbucks, I will still legally carry my pistol just like I do all over the state of Washington. Nothing I do will change.

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