Starbucks didn't ban guns, but these places did

Peet's, Whole Foods and Disney theme parks are among the many that strictly prohibit customers from carrying weapons on premises.

By Jason Notte Sep 20, 2013 9:11AM
A Starbucks Corp., sign is displayed outside a coffee shop in London, U.K. / Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesHey, did you hear that Starbucks (SBUX) is banning guns in its stores?

If you did, you heard wrong. All Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz did was politely ask customers not to bring loaded firearms into his stores or hold gun rallies or protests there.

No ban is in effect, and Schultz says employees won't confront customers who don't wish to comply with his request. Some of his exact words follow:

"Few topics in America generate a more polarized and emotional debate than guns. In recent months, Starbucks stores and our partners (employees) who work in our stores have been thrust unwillingly into the middle of this debate. That's why I am writing today with a respectful request that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas."

Schultz is still taking heat for the request, which is odd considering the number of companies that actually ban guns in their stores outright. The Huffington Post ran a list of eight of them, and right at the top is organic grocer Whole Foods Market (WFM), which has banned guns in its stores since 2001.

Typical of some lefty, holier-than-thou fancypants, "Whole Paycheck" boutique market, right? Well, only if you ignore the fact that Whole Foods chief executive John Mackey is ordinarily a staunch libertarian who has pushed back on labor issues and called the Obamacare health care law "fascist."

Even one of Starbucks' direct competitors has a tougher stance on guns than its giant foe with 12,000 U.S. stores. Peet's Coffee (PEET), which gave Starbucks' founders their first beans, doesn't allow guns in its stores or in its outside seating areas.

California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) won't allow guns in its restaurants either, while growing beer, chicken and big-screen-TV casual-dining chain Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD) has banned firearms in its establishments since 2009. If you're taking the kids to either Toys R Us or Walt Disney World or Disneyland (DIS), those establishments don't want your weapons on their grounds, either.

By those terms, Schultz and Starbucks are being comparably lenient in giving "responsible gun owners the chance to respect our request." Schultz notes that Starbucks has always worked in accordance with local law when allowing customers to openly carry firearms into its stores.

But recent events against Starbucks forced Schultz to reconsider. Among them were anti-gun petitions and protests -- and a pro-gun "Starbucks Appreciation Day" in the Newtown, Conn., town where an elementary school shooting in December that left 20 children dead, but was thwarted when employees closed the store for the day. Said Schultz:

"We've seen the 'open carry' debate become increasingly uncivil and, in some cases, even threatening. Pro-gun activists have used our stores as a political stage for media events misleadingly called 'Starbucks Appreciation Days' that disingenuously portray Starbucks as a champion of 'open carry.' To be clear: we do not want these events in our stores. Some anti-gun activists have also played a role in ratcheting up the rhetoric and friction, including soliciting and confronting our customers and partners."

In short, people brought this response on themselves and have continued to draw the company's ire by lambasting the nonbinding decision from both sides of the argument. Starbucks doesn't want its stores used as political pawns and, in a deviation from modern discourse, asked people to politely listen to reason.

When other businesses have abandoned that approach in favor of straight-up bans, it's difficult to sympathize with Starbucks' newly frothy coffeehouse critics.

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Sep 20, 2013 10:20AM

I find no issue with a private company asking people not to bring firearms into there establishment.  Card carrying NRA members will all comply to such a request.


Unfortunately, the people you need to worry about will ignore your request.

Sep 20, 2013 1:40PM
Funny though, those bans never seem to stop a Raving lunatic with a hand gun...
Sep 20, 2013 1:39PM
I allowed and encouraged people to bring guns into my business if they wanted to.  Business was effected in a positive way.  Interesting fact---both grocery stores with-in a few miles to my left and right were the victims of armed robbery.  I was never robbed.  Just saying------
Sep 20, 2013 1:26PM
I've got no use for Starbucks anyway.  I make my own coffee at home everyday just the way I like it and it doesn't cost me a small fortune.
Sep 20, 2013 1:42PM

Good Lord people are such idiots. 99% of people (including me) who carry concealed pay no attention to the silly no firearms signs at all. And people dont have a clue we are armed :)



Sep 20, 2013 1:33PM

People wonder why someone would want to carry a gun into these places to begin with. The reason is because they have their gun on them all the time. They don't take it off unless they have to. Sure they could leave it in their vehicle but vehicles get broken into. It's like a cell phone. It's not necessary to get your coffee but why leave it in your vehicle when you already have it on you. Just like a gun, if you don't pull it out and show it to everyone then nobody will even know you have it.


I don't want to hear that its completely different because one is a communications device and the other is a bringer of death. That wasn't the point of the comparison.

Sep 20, 2013 1:44PM
I almost feel for Starbucks, being between a rock and a hard place, and they didn't actually ban guns. I carry concealed most days, but the wack-jobs who wear full battle dress, two rifles slung over their shoulders and a pistol on their hip into places like this or walking down the street just to prove a point, ruin it for those of us with common sense. Just because you CAN do something doesn't necessarily mean you SHOULD.
Sep 20, 2013 2:12PM
Being an Active Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor  and a Licensed Concealed carry permit holder I believe that a Licensed Responsable Individual should be able to carry anywhere the State or Federal law permits. If a criminal comes into a business where I am a patron and for whatever reason starts to shoot up the place I want to have the ability to defend myself, my family or other bystanders from death or great bodily harm.
Sep 20, 2013 1:47PM

If SOMEONE would have had a "legal" carry gun in the Navy Yard last week, maybe so many people would not have died. And yes, the guards had them, they were the first ones targeted.  If you outlaw guns....only outlaws will have guns.  Trite saying...but THEY don't care if they break the law.  Get it?   Geez.  Probably not some of you....if there's a one will break it right?  If we melt down all those nasty ol' one will know how to make one right?  No one will find a way right?  Tsk tsk.  Stupid stupid.    Case:  Chicago.  13 people shot.  Wait, dont they have some of the STRICTEST gun laws in the nation???  Hmm....guess those nasty old criminals just didn't know. 


This card carrying NRA member will NOT abide by their request.  If the law says I can carry, then I will do so. I will not go into a place anymore that bans guns.  They are the targets.  I have a right to protect myself against these ultra violence thugs and will do so.

Sep 20, 2013 1:25PM
yep the bad ones will not stop to not carry one in and then what happens when some one go.s off and starts shooting peps then do we sue the store or what ever for not letting peps defend there selfs from a nut job thats not going to follow the rule of no gun in here
Sep 20, 2013 1:27PM
Why not post 'no freedom of speech' or 'no protection against illegal search' at the stores?? If you're going to outlaw one article of the Constitution, why not outlaw all of them?? If I can't defend myself against some nut because these companies are soooooooooo PC, all attorneys please contact me in my hospital bed for massive lawsuit against them. You get half.
Sep 20, 2013 1:46PM
Buffalo wild wings should ban weapons, they cater to irresponsible drinkers. On many occasions I have witnessed drunken brawls in their establishment, I banned my whole family from their business.
Sep 20, 2013 2:04PM
I don't patronize any business that prohibits me from carrying concealed.  It's my right to spend my money elsewhere, too.
Sep 20, 2013 1:56PM

And who really disarms themselves when heading into a coffee shop?

Sep 20, 2013 1:23PM
Stick to your guns Starbucks.  Don't let the liberal madness take another precious piece of our freedom.
Sep 20, 2013 1:32PM
WOW, hope they don't get robbed. The police can't even come in then....
Sep 20, 2013 1:44PM
Why are they making such a big deal out of this?!!! Everywhere you go you will see signs in the doors/windows of business's that usually state no weapons of any kind. Whether it be knives, guns, tasers, etc.. It wouldn't be a big deal if the media didn't make it one!!
Sep 20, 2013 1:45PM
I'm just about as pro-gun rights as they come. But even I'm okay with a business having the right to not allow them in their stores. I also don't think every single one of us should walk around with a loaded gun on our hip.
Sep 20, 2013 2:01PM

Love starbucks.  and this will not stop me going thru the drivethru.   I appreciate their position and the polite way they are asking.

Sep 20, 2013 2:08PM
All the crime data I can come up with, is less than .01% of CCW's are involved in any crime.  We have extensive background checks by the FBI, and the expense we go through that a criminal wouldn't even think of doing.
Worry about criminals, not law abiding citizens!
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