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Starbucks CEO Says Guns Are Not Welcome In Their Stores

Story By: Larry Stine

 

 

 
 
 
   
   
  Originally Published on: 9/22/2013

Starbucks CEO has a message for all Americans, your guns are not welcome in our stores. Howard Shultz has written an open letter asking customers not to bring guns into Starbucks stores. But he stops short of banning guns as some other major companies have done. Poppy Harlow reports. "We're not an anti-gun company. We're not a policy-maker." The man behind the ubiquitious green siren is smack in the middle of a heated gun-control debate. "We have been mischaracterized as either being pro or anti-gyn," says Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO. "We're neither." A total of 43 states have so-called "open carry" laws, meaning you can visibly carry a licensed gun in public. Many businesses, like Target, Walmart and Starbucks, say when it comes to customers, if a firearm is allowed by the state, it's allowed in their stores. But that has led some to dub Starbucks, pro-gun. "We've seen advocates on both sides of this debate use Starbucks as a staging ground for their own motivations," says Schultz. Across the countrym gun-rights advocates have gathered at the coffee chain, displaying firearms for what they call "Starbucks Appreciation Day," some posting photos on Facebook. "Customers have felt significantly uncomfortable, children have felt uncomfortable," says Schultz. So, in an open letter, Schultz sats guns are not welcome at Starbucks and asks customers not to bring them. But he stopped short of a ban. "We made that decision so that we would not put our people in the uncomfortable position of having to confront a customer who is carrying a gun," says Schultz. Ryan Delp and Bill Stevens both carry their guns in public, but generally concealed. "I intend to respect their wishes," says Delp. "I just won't be taking my business to Starbucks." "In a free society like America where we're supposed to honor equality, tolerance, and each others rights, here we have a company saying, we don't want that right in our store," says Stevens. "And I think that's unfortunate." The Brady Campaign and others have petitioned Starbucks to ban guns. Last month, a group of Newtown residnets sent Schultz this letter, asking him to ban guns. "I think it's a significant step in the right direction," says Monte Frank of the Newtown Action Alliance. "We would have prefered an outright ban but I think it sends a clear message that we need to have safe places for our kids." "Howard, how do you make these decisions, on what social issues Starbucks should engage in, put your name in front of, and Starbucks name in front of?" asked CNN's Poppy Harlow. "There are times when i feel like America has lost its conscience and I think the role and repsonsibility for companies is not only to make a profit, but to serve their communities as best we can," Schultz responded.
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