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 16,374.76 23.38 0.14%
Nasdaq 4,733.50 -16.48 -0.35%
S&P 500 1,951.13 2.27 0.12%
Treasuries 2.17 -0.02 -1.14%
Data as of 5:55pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 15.94 0.09 0.57%
Apple Inc 110.37 -1.97 -1.75%
Freeport-McMoRan Inc... 10.13 0.23 2.32%
Intel Corp 29.08 0.48 1.68%
Frontier Communicati... 5.52 0.31 5.95%
Data as of 4:01pm ET
Sponsors

Sections

Americans are transforming how they eat -- paying more attention to the origins of their food and how it's made. And Kimbal Musk is at the forefront of a movement that is accelerating the rate of change. More

The Labor Department releases its August jobs report on Friday, and it will have big implications for the Federal Reserve. More

The BauBax travel jacket, with 15 built-in features, needed $20,000 on Kickstarter, but got $9 million. More

Pimco's famous fund once managed by star manager Bill Gross has less than $100 billion in management for the first time since 2007. More