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Guns and coffee: Starbucks again an open carry policy battleground

photoSeveral gun advocates are using this logo as their Facebook page photo on Valentine’s Day.

Starbucks is being boycotted today for its gun policy. The company is also selling a truckload of coffee.

An anti-gun group attempted to organize a nationwide boycott of the popular coffee chain on Valentine’s Day, starting the movement two weeks ago. Members of The National Gun Victim’s Alliance Council, or NGAC, became worried that customers could carry in guns while grabbing a cup of joe.

“Starbucks allowing guns to be carried in thousands of their stores significantly increases everyone’s risk of being a victim of gun violence,” NHAC CEO Elliot Fineman argued in a media release. “Open and conceal and carry are among the reasons there are 12,000 gun homicides each year in the U.S.”

Loudoun gun activist Ed Levine chuckled when he heard about the movement. And then he struck back, launching his own Facebook event and putting up a Youtube video explaining the situation. He is encouraging gun owners to support Starbucks to counter-act the boycott.

“Some time ago, a couple gun owners went to a coffee shop and got kicked out,” Levine said. “So they went to Starbucks, and Starbucks didn’t say anything except let the people enjoy their coffee, and that was that.”

Levine said the anti-gun groups, of which there are many, requested that Starbucks enforce a stricter stance to guns in their locations.

“Starbucks basically said that they don’t want to be in the middle of a gun battle,” Levine said. “If it’s legal to carry a gun then let them carry a gun. We just want to sell coffee.”

In 2010, when the Starbucks and guns debate last peaked, the morning beverage giant released a statement regarding the company’s position on open carry gun laws.

“While we deeply respect the views of all of our customers, Starbucks’ long-standing approach to this issue remains unchanged,” the March 16, 2010 release states. “We comply with local laws and statutes in all the communities we serve. That means we abide by the laws that permit open carry in 43 U.S. states.”

At press time, the boycott group had less than 500 likes on Facebook. The Facebook “event” that Levine started with fellow gun-heads Dale Paris and Bryan Reynolds has catapulted to more than 22,000 attendees with more than 2,000 “maybes,” and upwards of 110,000 others that had been invited.

Levine has even suggested using $2 bills to indicate the support for the second amendment; the right to bear arms.

“I’m going to make it rain with $2 bills at Starbucks,” Levine said.

While Starbucks has been a battleground of sorts for gun control in the last few years, the company reiterates that it just wants to follow the law and let people enjoy their coffee.

“As a company, we are extremely sensitive to the issue of gun violence in our society,” the Starbucks release states. “Our Starbucks family knows all too well the dangers that exist when guns are used irresponsibly and illegally.

Without minimizing this unfortunate reality, we believe that supporting local laws is the right way to ensure a safe environment for both partners and customers.”

And apparently, it’s a surefire way to sell a lot of coffee.


There are not 12000 gun related homicides a year, there were only 8775 gun murders out of in 12,996 murders in 2010. Gun homicides are declining at a 14% rate while homicides are only declining at a 4-12% rate a year. More and more homicides in the recession are family annihilators and of the 4 main groupings of causes of homicide (gangs, drugs, argument, other) other which is what these fall under is the least likely to use a gun (55%). Arguments leading to homicide are less likely to use guns also (under 60%). Gang and drug disputes use guns more than 90% of the time.

Look at Loudoun Co, most of our homicides in the last decade are domestic argument (The Bennetts are the exception) and not one was gun related. Stabbings, strangulation, beatings, and hammer.

On the flip side last year armed gunmen attacked a home owner and some of his guests in Sterling looking to rob the mans safe, the homeowner had a gun in that safe and killed one, injured another of the three robbers and none of the innocent bystanders were injured.

the 12000 gun deaths had nothing to do with anyone who can legally open or conceal & carry guns in Starbucks. Ridiculous. Also, NGAC does not know who is carrying where & when, if they have a LEGAL conceal & carry permit. So maybe the members of NGAC should not GO ANYWHERE ANYMORE and hide out in their houses, then they will not risk being around any weapons (guns, knifes, etc) in public!

kazoo - You talk about the NRA crowd being paranoid and dishonest then you spout every lie in the book and then you likely sit around at home wonder why your side of the debate is losing ground day by day as the American public become more and more pro gun.

Way to be a hypocrite and to post the nonsense causing you to lose the debate. Please keep up the good work.

Bet this story didn’t get as much play in other parts of the country as here? Perhaps Starbucks is looking for additional marketing strategies since they have competition from non-chains?  I prefer coffee with trusted friends rather than armed strangers, even though I subscribe to home protection.  I just question the fear factor on both sides of this issue.

The pro-gun/NRA crowd is absurd—a bunch of paranoid cowboy wannabees. They blather constantly about how owning a gun will make their families or society safer—but that argument is a big red herring. Gun owners do not deter criminals. Some goof above tries to suggest that the Holocaust might have been avoided had Jews carried guns! Progressive, intelligent people don’t want to carry guns because they are smart enough to know that an innocent person is more likely to be shot with somebody’s gun than a criminal—as a result of an accidental shooting, mistaken identification or some guy just blowing his top. Fact is, there are a million hotheads walking and driving around—men with anger issues or mental issues of one kind or another, and all it takes is something to set them off and they start shooting. We see it every week! Gun owners like to tell us how “responsible” they are, which may be true—until they freak out about something and become grossly irresponsible. That’s the reality—not this NRA fantasy about gun-toting citizens saving us from terrorists. The safety issue is a MYTH.

Leave the coffee alone or I will shoot you.

Some hormonal birth control will be outlawed under HB1, VA “Personhood” ruling.  What’s worse is HB462 and SB484, trans-vaginal ultrasound probes without consent (state sanctioned rape) - check it out. Blunt Amendment in the US House will permit denial of basic contraceptive coverage for any reason. 

If you don’t want to carry, don’t want birth control or abortion, don’t!  But don’t prevent others from exercising rights. Thank God my husband gets it, and if you care about women’s health do the research.  Men benefit from contraception and healthy women.  Protected by 2A but not from VA Big Government?

Great comment Kathy. Bad guys beware.

Big Government - What in the world are you talking about? Birth control is not banned in VA.

So Virginians can carry guns but not birth control? What’s wrong with this picture?

all i can say is that if a bad buy looking to rob a place at gunpoint, right now is less likely to go to a starbucks in virginia because there could be law abiding, gun carrying citizens in there.  or do you think the robber will stop himself at the front door to starbucks and say to himself, “hmmm….darn….starbucks doesn’t ALLOW guns…guess I can’t go in and rob those guys at gunpoint”.  i don’t think so.

“I’m a 2A supporter but never want to be grouped into the same column as pieces of trash like…..”

@ “Protecting Myself”:  “pieces of trash”??  And what set of values does that represent, exactly, when you refer to other human beings as “pieces of trash”?  Please enlighten us.

If guns cause crime then mine are defective.
Some have been in the family for 3 generations and have yet to cause any crime.

Thank you fedupdude.  Only through the start but it seems like a good piece.  I’ll finish it later and check his sources to see what else I can find.

I do not have the direct study only some bits from it reference here http://uhaweb.hartford.edu/kdowst/competen.html

@ Fedupdude

Please link that Missouri study.  I would like to read it.

The whole shooting bystanders thing is a bogus argument because it does not happen. There are hundreds if not thousands of robberies turned shoot out on record and anyone other than the criminal getting hit by the legal gun owner is super rare almost none existent.

Miami has 21000 CCW holders and over 6 years there were dozens of cases of them getting into altercations with criminals and not one was disarmed and not one shot and bystander.

A Missouri study finds that legal gun owners are 83% successful at killing or driving off attackers where the police are only successful 68% of the time. Only 2% of civilian and 11% of police shootings involved and innocent bystander and all of the civilian shooters were felons protecting a drug stash.

No Rick, you missed the important part.  One of the girls was shot in the gunfire.  It would have been much better for all the girls to be raped and murdered instead of one of them receiving a non-fatal wound.  Booo surviving, right DBP?

hey Phil, do you think that the people in this situation are glad or angry at Mr. Bailey?
Doesn’t look like Mr. Bailey will be sharing a cell with “LeRoy” (which is racist on your part, by the way)

@Revenge of the Teabaggers - What is it you feel needs researching? You do not seem to be pointing out any errors you just seem to be criticizing someone without factual back up for what you said.

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