Starbucks asks customers to leave their guns at home

By Tom Quiner


You’re sipping on a cup of coffee at the coffee shop with friends.

You look up. A guy just walked in with a shot gun to buy a cup of coffee. Does this make you feel comfortable or uncomfortable?

Be honest.

This is happening in Starbucks stores around the country, says Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz. The Board of Directors voted to ask Starbucks customers NOT to bring weapons into their stores. Wall Street Journal columnist, Peggy Noonan, asked Chairman Schultz about this situation:

Why did you do this? Why does Starbucks have to have a position on people bringing guns in for coffee?

Mr. Schultz explained:

“We are not a policy maker and we’re not on any level anti-gun. But over the past four months there’s been episodes in and around our stores that alarmed us. Advocates on both sides [of the gun debate] began to stage events in and around Starbucks stores that mischaracterized Starbucks’ brand and position. That was not in the interests of our company, our shareholders and employees. So open-carry comes, and we abide by the law. But it began to disturb us, the number of customers and children who became alarmed at seeing people in the store carrying guns. . . .

We had a couple situations the past few weeks where some people walked in with rifles! [Some local Starbucks stores] became a staging area for the argument over Second Amendment rights. We’re not pro-gun or anti-gun, and we decided to respectfully ask gun owners to leave their guns out of Starbucks.”

Noonan followed up:

Why did Starbucks become a theater of the gun debate?

Schultz explained:

“Our stores are a meeting place, coffee’s been part of conversation for hundreds of years. This fact “became a natural opportunity for people to use us as a staging ground.”

Noonan posed a practical question:

How do you imagine this working—how do people who carry guns in open-carry states disarm themselves to get a cup of coffee?

Schultz revealed how boxed in Starbucks is on the matter:

“This decision was made through the lens of our values. . . . It’s not a ban. We’ll serve customers and not ask them to leave. . . . I personally have spent endless hours on this issue. I’ve spoken to passionate advocates on both sides.” He notes that two members of the Starbucks board are former Defense Secretary Bob Gates and former Sen. Bill Bradley. The board voted in support of the request. “We viewed this through the lens of bipartisanship.”

Bottom line: I don’t relish the thought of someone toting a rifle while I’m sipping on my morning java. How about you?




  1. Moe on September 18, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    I’m with you. I’m pretty pro gun control, so one of my favorite factoids is this: In Dodge City, Wyatt Earp as Sheriff banned open carry, banned guns at all in certain parts of town and it was a criminal offense to carry into a saloon. An ‘inconvenient truth’ of another sort I guess . . .

  2. sally1137 on September 18, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    Interesting. I had a nice iced coffee in a Starbucks last week. My handgun stayed in my purse and nobody noticed.

  3. skyedog27 on September 18, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    Only a quasi- macho, steroid enhanced goofball would walk into a public place sporting a rifle. I keep mine safely tucked into my

    • quinersdiner on September 19, 2013 at 6:54 am

      My laugh of the day.

  4. abcinsc on September 19, 2013 at 7:05 am

    Maybe they should think about cutting down on the caffein.

  5. tannngl on September 19, 2013 at 8:14 am

    To me it’s the guns in the pockets of law breakers. Not shotguns or rifles of law abiding citizens.
    How do you know which is which? You don’t. But if a law breaker comes in, it’s comforting to know that others are there with a shotgun.
    One more point. If law breaking progs are going to enter a store to do mass murder, they have never done it in a ‘gun zone’. It’s always been a ‘gun free zone’.

  6. illero on September 19, 2013 at 10:08 am

    You provided excellent food for thought — and here’s mine. I think any discomfort I felt would not stem from fearing that someone was about to start intentionally shooting people — I’m pretty comfortable around gun-toters who are comfortable around their guns (although I’ve kept a cautious eye on some folks I’ve seen at the shooting range). The person I fear more is the yahoo who carries a macho chip around on his shoulder who really doesn’t understand his gun very well, and accidentally discharges it in the coffee shop (or wherever).

    • quinersdiner on September 19, 2013 at 10:19 am

      Since I can’t read the mind of the person with the gun, I would probably exit quickly.

    • JoeC on September 19, 2013 at 11:27 am

      I would question the motivation of someone who felt the need to bring a rifle or shotgun into a coffee shop. If a woman keeps a handgun in her purse, who would know?

      If someone were robbing a coffee shop (is this an issue of late?) I would assume they would come in with their weapon pulled and ready to go and I would not want to be the guy standing their holding a rifle because if “Sh!t goes down” I would assume I would die first. Just my opinion. 🙂

      • quinersdiner on September 19, 2013 at 11:42 am

        Starbucks kind of put themselves in the crosshairs by staking out very public issues on controversial social issues. Second Amendment advocates have used them as a staging ground to make their own political point, I guess. If someone’s gun is out of sight, well that’s one thing, but if they are flaunting it, who wouldn’t be nervous?