Thinking about packing a semi-automatic the next time you get that soy latte? Not so fast. Starbucks has announced that guns are no longer welcome at their establishment. Yesterday, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz politely wrote about the policy changes in an open letter to "Fellow Americans" posted on the company's site.
Commenting on the decision to USA Today, Schultz remarks, "The presence of a weapon in our stores is unsettling and upsetting for many of our customers." Last month, a Moms Demand Action spokeswoman acknowledged to Fox that Starbucks, a private company, is perfectly within their legal rights to make their own decisions about what's allowed on their grounds.
Why would you need to bring a gun on a coffee run, you ask? That's a head-scratcher. But, until now, Starbucks permitted you to do this in the forty states the chain operates within. This made them popular with pro-gun lobbyists, who will now surely speak out in protest to the policy reversal.
To avoid more controversy than necessary, Shultz is taking out full-page advertisements (in USA Today, The New York Times, among others) to clarify Starbucks' stance. There will be no outright ban on guns, he told USA Today, as doing so "would potentially require our partners to confront armed customers."
So, how will they enforce the new policy? It seems they aren't quite sure yet; unlike simple "no smoking" signs, there will be no public warnings posted on guns. Schultz indicates they will play it by ear: "At this point we'll sit and monitor the situation," he says. " We're hoping that most people will honor the request." And if they don't?
"We'll serve them with a smile and not confront them."