|CSGV STATEMENT ON STARBUCKS’ RESPONSE TO ARMED RALLIES AT ITS STORES
|Washington, D.C.—Today, pro-gun activists conducted a series of armed rallies at Starbucks’ stores across the country, exposing the coffee chain’s dangerous and irresponsible company policy concerning firearms. Starbucks’ corporate leadership allowed all these armed demonstrations to proceed without interference save one. The chain closed its store in Newtown, Connecticut early after intense criticism from family members of victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy, and organizations like Sandy Hook Promise and Newtown Action Alliance.
In defending its policy allowing individuals to carry loaded guns into its stores, Starbucks has claimed neutrality and explained that they are merely “complying with local laws and statutes in the communities they serve.” This argument is a specious one.
It is not up to public officials to provide for the safety of Starbucks’ customers and employees. That is their responsibility as a private business and theirs alone. Starbucks recently banned smoking within 25 feet of its stores not because state/local law required it, but because Starbucks believes it provides a safer, healthier, more satisfying experience for their customers and employees alike. They could also expressly prohibit the carrying of firearms inside their stores like the coffee chain Peet’s does. They have elected not to.
Starbucks indicated it closed its Newtown store today “out of respect for Newtown and everything our community has been through.” In a country that has endured 62 mass shootings in the last 30 years—and countless other gruesome gun-related tragedies—it’s difficult to understand why the people of Newtown deserve to be treated with respect and sensitivity, but not the people of Aurora, Tucson, Oak Creek, Blacksburg, Seattle, etc., etc., etc.
It is time for Starbucks’ corporate leadership to stop passing the buck and do the right thing. Far from “nurturing the human spirit,” by allowing individuals to carry loaded handguns, assault rifles and shotguns into their stores to make extreme political statements, Starbucks is doing nothing but tainting their brand and exposing their customers and employees to unnecessary, daily risks.
The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence seeks to secure freedom from gun violence through research, strategic engagement and effective policy advocacy.