Starbucks becomes ground zero for gun debate

Starbucks and guns

Before I get in to this story I should tell you that if you do not live in the United States then, you will surely find this article very odd and frankly a bit ridiculous. In the US there are 43 states which allow people to carry guns in public settings. They are even allowed to have the gun be visible on their side like in the Wild West days. Recently, groups that support gun rights have encouraged gun owners to test these state laws by carrying their weapons in to Starbucks shops.

Starbucks really had nothing to do with this. It’s not like they had this coming to them due to something they did to a gun owner or anything like that. They are simply an easy destination for gun rights organizers because there are locations in all the 43 states where this law is in place and they are abundant so just about everyone is within reach of a Starbucks location. Also, gun rights groups know that Starbucks comes from Seattle, a city that is known for being progressive, liberal thinking, tech savvy and with a likely majority against this gun carrying law. Generally, the typical Starbucks customer also shares these views of making carrying a weapon in public an illegal act.

Basically, gun rights groups are trying to spark the news headlines to give attention to their cause. This puts Starbucks in a position where no matter what they do or don’t do it will end up alienating some people. They did not bring this upon themselves but they are now forced to deal with it. Their first move was to issue a statement saying that they plan to follow local laws for all of their locations. This means that they will not ban people from carrying guns in their shops where that law is in effect.

They actually even stated that they do not want to be put in the middle of this debate. They are also concerned that if they ban weapons carriers when local laws allow for it then, even though it would be completely within their right to institute that type of ban, it would surely anger the gun owners and they fear that it would cause a scene in their shops and more specifically put their employees in harm’s way. After all, these people do have a gun on them…

Some people think that eventually Starbucks will institute a gun ban in their stores, but I think they may try to convince other big chains to do the same before them or at least with them. I am not sure that they will change their policy at all. The thing they want more than anything is for this to be forgotten as soon as possible and by allowing people to carry guns, they hope the gun owners will see that no one is making a big deal about it and they will lose interest. However, if they now reverse their decision then you will see protests and boycotts and it will surely make the news headlines as a big debate about gun rights which is what the gun rights groups actually want, but that is the last thing Starbucks wants.

For Canadians, this whole story is very strange as Canadians find the fascination with Americans having 2nd amendment rights which allows people to own firearms to be quite primitive and totally unnecessary. It is the only advanced country that allows such “third world” rights and it obviously is not a good policy to have in place (just look at the rates of gun victims in the US versus pretty much every other peaceful nation). I can maybe understand someone living in a rural area wanting to own a gun because there aren’t many people around and there is a higher potential for wild animals or something. However, for anyone living in the city or suburbs, it is absolutely crazy to carry a gun in public or to even have a desire to. There are definitely reasons that make the US a better place than Canada to live in (especially for business people), but on this issue it is much better to be Canadian than American.