Thousands of gun owners around the country, organized through activities on Facebook and other social media, gathered at coffee shops to celebrate Starbucks Appreciation day this week with predictable results. Starbucks, being in neither the governmental policy nor firearms manufacturing businesses, chooses to implement a policy of simply following the laws of the various states where their outlets are located. If your state allows you to carry out in public, you can carry in their stores. Fairly simple, no?
Apparently not. Connecticut is one of the states where you can carry, and there is a Starbucks in Newtown, so gun owners showed up to demonstrate their appreciation of the chain’s neutral policy. This had the usual crowd of activists up in arms.
Activists rallying for the right to bear arms came face to face with Newtown’s grieving community on Friday—and neither side liked what they saw.
The two groups butted heads on Starbucks Appreciation Day at a coffee store less than two miles away from Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 26 children and educators lost their lives to gun violence in December.
“How can they even think of being here?” asked Barbara Kraushaar, whose former neighbor Adam Lanza was responsible for the massacre.
This put Starbucks in something of a difficult position and that particular outlet decided to avoid the entire mess by closing several hours early, but gun owners showed up anyway. This led to anti-gun rights activists spoon feeding the media, with cries of how “reprehensible” and outrageous it all was. One gun owner, interviewed for the article linked above, derided Starbucks for “chickening out.”
I’m having a hard time getting too upset with Starbucks over this decision. They have a good policy in place which complies with the laws of each state where they do business. And their business is not promoting gun rights or denying them. It’s selling coffee. And they still have an interest in selling coffee in Newtown, regardless of the storm of of public opinion surrounding all of this. If company owners choose to wade into the fray when it comes to any high visibility public policy debates, that’s certainly their business and they should be prepared to handle the consequences if affects their trade in either direction. But if all they do is follow the laws, they should be able to conduct their business.