Starbucks has made a polite request to its customers, asking them to kindly leave their guns at home when stepping out for coffee. However, the chain stopped short of actually banning customers from bringing guns into Starbucks stores outright and has now found itself thrust right into the center of the national gun control debate.
The firm’s Chief Executive Howard Schultz made the request in the form of an open letter, which came in response to a growing barrage of complaints being received by the Starbucks chain. Having always allowed customers to freely bring in and openly show their firearms in areas where carrying guns is legal, Starbucks has taken a somewhat on-the-fence stance by asking for the practice to be stopped, without actually enforcing any new rules.
Those in favor of gun control have long criticized Starbucks for not caring what its customers bring into its outlets. According to Mr Schultz, the open letter has been written and publicized in order to help cool an increasingly hostile situation where both sides of the debate are taking aggressive and even ‘threatening’ stances to try and enforce their own beliefs.
“For these reasons, today we are respectfully requesting that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas—even in states where “open carry” is permitted—unless they are authorized law enforcement personnel,” the letter reads, which has been published today in various US newspapers.
Starbucks chose not to follow suit with various other major retailers across the US that have already banned guns from their premises altogether, unless held by law enforcement official or other such individuals. Instead, the letter has been designed to “give responsible gun owners the chance to respect our request” in the hope that some middle ground will be reached and put a halt to staff members being put in awkward and potentially dangerous positions.
But even such minor moves in favor of one group or another have prompted overreactions from both sides of the fence. While those in favor of gun control have slated Starbuck for making a redundant gesture that achieves nothing, some of the more hard-lined gun-rights groups have vowed to boycott Starbucks and its products altogether.
So in a move that was supposed to be for the common good, Starbucks seems to have impressively managed to annoy both sides of the debate.