Story by Jonathan Rudnick
When first-year Rose Crowley read an open letter from Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, detailing the company’s new policy requesting that patrons not carry weapons into the store, she asked.
“Why would you even need a gun in Starbucks?”
In the letter, posted in the wake of the recent Washington Navy Yard shooting, Schultz requested “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.”
This announcement comes as a surprise to some guns rights advocates, as the company previously maintained an unbiased or even pro-gun attitude.
In the past, pro-gun activists held meetings and demonstrations in stores, called “Starbucks Appreciation Days.”
The CEO called this title “misleading,” in his letter and added “We do not want these events in our stores.”
Schultz asked that both pro- and anti-gun demonstrations take place outside stores.
“Some people choose to carry a firearm at all times for their own protection,” first-year Nicholas Giuliani said. “It’s not like you can just drop off your gun at the door.”
There are no mentions of concealed carry in the letter, implying that only open displays of weapons are no longer welcomed.
This means that any gun owner in possession of a concealed carry permit (or any gun owner in Ala., Ariz., or Vt., the three states which do not require permits) could legally bring a weapon into a Starbucks store without breaching the requests outlined in the letter.
The requests made by Schultz are legal at all levels of government, as Starbucks is private property and may set its own rules for its patrons.
In the letter, Schultz said that customers carrying openly will not be approached or interrogated by store partners, simply requesting that customers disarm before entering.
Schultz said that law enforcement personnel need not follow these restrictions.
Schultz closes out the letter by stating that he is “proud of our country and our heritage of civil discourse and debate.”
He asked that citizens maintain respect and responsibility in dealings with each other during this period of debate.
“I’ve never even heard of a shooting in a Starbucks,” First-year Bridget Fahey said. “When did this become an issue?”