Starbucks, one of the biggest chains of coffee shops in the world, has become a platform for debate on the long and controversial issue “Should guns be allowed in the United States?”
The second amendment of the Constitution of the United States protects the right of American citizens to bear arms. The fourth article of The Bill of Rights justifies this as “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.” This was originally legislated as a mechanism for allowing citizens to rebel in the case of a totalitarian government.
Starbucks has up until now followed state law for example Starbucks in Florida prohibits open carry of firearms but Starbucks in Mississippi allows the possession of arms. This has always been Starbucks’ long unspoken practice. Nevertheless, after the elementary school shooting in Newton in the state of Connecticut which happened in December 2012, Starbucks has had its eyes opened to realities of the issue regarding the possession of arms. In August 2013, open carry supporters held an “appreciation day” thanking Starbucks for allowing open carry in their shops. Starbucks, in immediate response, closed some of its branches on the same day for the sake of maintaining its neutrality on the issue.
Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, expressed his views on Tuesday 17th September 2013, stating that the event proposed by open carry supporters was misleading. He stated that Starbucks has never explicitly supported the open carry policy and that such events should not be carried out in any Starbucks branch. Although Schultz said that Starbucks will not refuse to serve customers with guns, many interpreted his words as “No Guns In Starbucks Please”. Schultz stressed that Starbucks never agrees or disagrees with the open carry policy and the issue should be brought about in the Congress but not in the coffee shop.
Starbucks has, however, stated that they do not encourage customers entering the shop with firearms. Schultz tried his best not to provoke any of the customers, but the message is clear; if you want a cup of Starbucks coffee, leave your guns at the front door.
With reference to Reuters