Starbucks Open Carry Policy – A Local’s Perspective
In January, 2010, gun advocates in California decided to test their state’s open carry laws by walking into businesses with guns strapped to their legs, or wherever they strapped them. This was an activist gesture. Businesses in open carry states have the right to set firearm policies in their businesses, but gun rights advocates wanted to test and challenge those policies.
Being that Starbucks is headquartered in liberal – practically communist – Seattle, my home town, the gun rights advocates expected confrontation, and were pleasantly surprised when they got none. In fact, it is the policy of Starbucks to allow guns in their stores in states where open carry is the law of the land.
It’s unclear how long this has been official Starbucks policy, but it is clear to me why Starbucks took a conservative stance on this issue when it did.
On November 29, 2009, Maurice Clemmons walked into a Forza Coffee Shop in Lakewood, Washington, and – in cold blood – killed four police officers. Clemmons was a fugitive from Arkansas, and it appears the attack was planned. Clemmons was later killed by police in an attempt to apprehend him.
Sergeant Mark Renninger, Officer Ronald Owens, Officer Tina Griswold and Officer Greg Richards never knew what hit them. Apparently, someone got off a defensive shot or two, but the four were killed senselessly.
The Forza location was owned by a retired police officer. God only knows the anguish he must have felt to have officers killed in his store. Naturally, the community rallied around the families of the officers, the police department and the coffee shop owner.
Several months later, when gun rights advocates converged on Starbucks, the world famous coffee shop took a stance. The correct stance. They allowed guns in their stores.
As stated, I don’t know how long this has been policy at Starbucks, and consequently, I don’t know the reason for this policy, but I applaud it. It sends a message, and that message is this: not on my watch.
People in Seattle were furious. The international headquarters was protested. Coffee shops around the country were alternately picketed or filled with gun owners, once word spread. But you know what? There hasn’t been one incident of gun violence at a Starbucks, and hopefully there never will be.
Not on my watch.
I don’t own a gun. I’ve never handled one. But one day in the not too distant future, I will. Why? Do I think something horrible might happen? No. But I see the writing on the wall, and I know that, as cliche as it might sound, when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will own guns.
I believe in the Constitution, and I believe in exercising my rights. Rights are political muscles; fail to use them and they atrophy. We’re letting our rights slowly fade away, and we need to revive them.
The second amendment of the Constitution reads:
“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Shall not be infringed.
I hope other companies follow Starbucks’ lead. I hope we get over our societal fear of guns, and once again exercise our free right to carry them, rather than allow them to be the sole province of thieves and renegades. Of course, there are many, many lawful citizens who currently own guns. But criminals should have to wonder, when they encounter a person on the street, is that guy packing?
Do guns enable freedom? I don’t know. There have been studies suggesting that they do. But I know they help enforce peace. That was the intention of the founding fathers when they acknowledged the right of the citizenry to own them. And that right will not be taken away.