Guns and coffee: Starbucks again an open carry policy battleground
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.