Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Starbucks in crosshairs on gun-control debate

By Hibah Yousuf, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The debate over gun control is heating up at Starbucks.

Gun owners bearing arms have been gathering at various Starbucks locations in states where it's legal to do so in public. That's sparked protests from gun-control advocates and kudos from pro-gun groups.

The coffee chain says that its stores simply abide by state laws, and it is legal to carry weapons in 43 states. But businesses have the right to prohibit customers from carrying guns in their establishments despite state laws, and that's the crux of this particular dust-up.

"While we deeply respect the views of all of our customers, Starbucks' long-standing approach to this issue remains unchanged," the company said in a statement. "We comply with local laws and statutes in all the communities we serve."

Starbucks (SBUX, Fortune 500) said the gun-toting gatherings first began at its stores in Northern California after two other chains, San Francisco-based Peet's Coffee & Tea and California Pizza Kitchen, put policies in place to prevent gun owners from carrying firearms in their stores.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence then wrote a letter to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, urging Starbucks to enforce a similar policy. On its Web site, the Brady Campaign is soliciting supporters through an online petition that urges Starbucks to offer "espresso shots, not gunshots" and reverse its corporate policy.

On the other side of the debate, gun rights advocates are pleased with Starbucks' decision. Forum members of OpenCarry.org, a pro-gun Internet community with nearly 28,000 members, are posting that they are "impressed" with Starbucks' stance and will regularly buy the company's coffee to show support.

Starbucks said if it were to adopt a policy prohibiting customers from carrying guns in states where it is legal to bear firearms, that would require its employees to ask law abiding customers to leave stores, putting them in an unfair and potentially unsafe position.

The company also said the gun-control debate belongs in the legislatures and courts, not at its stores.

"Advocacy groups from both sides of this issue have chosen to use Starbucks as a way to draw attention to their positions," the company said. "As the public debate continues, we are asking all interested parties to refrain from putting Starbucks or our partners in the middle of this divisive issue."  To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 21,310.66 -98.89 -0.46%
Nasdaq 6,146.62 -100.53 -1.61%
S&P 500 2,419.38 -19.69 -0.81%
Treasuries 2.20 0.06 2.85%
Data as of 1:35am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Advanced Micro Devic... 13.40 -0.68 -4.83%
Bank of America Corp... 23.27 0.38 1.66%
General Electric Co 27.21 -0.40 -1.45%
Chesapeake Energy Co... 4.80 0.13 2.78%
Micron Technology In... 31.66 -0.84 -2.58%
Data as of Jun 27
Sponsors

Sections

The City of Los Angeles says that the fast food chain underpaid workers at multiple locations for six months in 2016. More

Under the Senate health care bill, many Americans would end up paying more for doctors' visits and treatment. More

The Silicon Valley startup adds Andrew Ng to its board and raises $50 million to finance public testing. More

After years of a steadily improving stock market, it's only a matter of time before the tides turn and the market falls once again. Here's how to protect yourself when the market inevitably takes a turn for the worse. More