No. of Recommendations: 43
This is from Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz's open letter blogged late last year on SBUX's website. He wrote it after initially agreeing to open carry in stores located in states that allowed it. When gun-toters started holding "Starbucks Appreciation Days" there, Schultz came to his senses. He realized the fear and discomfort of many customers and strengthened his spine.

(Everything below is verbatim from Schultz. All I did was snip and fit together for brevity.)
_________

Dear Fellow Americans,

Few topics generate a more polarized and emotional debate than guns. In recent months, Starbucks stores and our employees...have been thrust unwillingly into the middle of this debate. That’s why I am writing with a respectful request that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas.

From the beginning, our vision...has been to create a place between home and work where people can come to enjoy the peace and pleasure of coffee and community. Our values have always centered on building community rather than dividing people. Our stores exist to give every customer a safe and comfortable respite from concerns of daily life.

"Open carry”....For years, we listened carefully to input from customers, partners, community leaders and voices on both sides of this highly charged issue. Our longstanding approach has been to follow local laws: we permit it where allowed and prohibit it where these laws don’t exist.... we believe store partners should not be put in the uncomfortable position of requiring customers to disarm or leave. Recently, we’ve seen “open carry” become increasingly uncivil, even threatening. Pro-gun activists have used our stores as a political stage for media events misleadingly called “Starbucks Appreciation Days” that disingenuously portray Starbucks as a champion of “open carry.” To be clear: we do not want these events in our stores.

(He had this underlined:)

For these reasons, today we are respectfully requesting that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas—-even in states where “open carry” is permitted—-unless they are authorized law enforcement personnel.

....Two points. First, this is a request and not a ban. Why? Because we want to give responsible gun owners the chance to respect our request.... also, enforcing a ban would potentially require partners to confront armed customers, and that is not a role I am comfortable asking Our partners to take on. Second, we know we cannot satisfy everyone. For those who oppose “open carry,” we believe the legislative and policy-making process is the proper arena for this debate, not our stores. For those who champion “open carry,” please respect that stores are places where everyone should feel relaxed and comfortable. The presence of a weapon in our stores is unsettling and upsetting for many customers.

I am proud of our country and our heritage of civil discourse and debate. It is in this spirit that we make today’s request. Whatever your view, I encourage you to be responsible and respectful of each other as citizens and neighbors.

Sincerely,

Howard Schultz
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