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Effective September 17, 2013 – BOYCOTT STARBUCKS!

Starbucks bans guns…then says they won’t enforce the ban.  Whatever, Schultz.  We’re not stupid and we both know what this reversal in policy means.  After years of standing by the rights on gun owners, today Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has sided with the anti-gun political movement and asked us not to bring our firearms to Starbucks any more.  He can’t have his cake and eat it too. He knows what his action means.  He is “asking” us not to come to Starbucks armed.  We won’t.  We won’t come at all.  The price of caving to the anti-gun lobby is the revenue you used to generate from our business.  You do the math.

An Open Letter from Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks Coffee Company


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Posted by Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman, president and chief executive officer

Dear Fellow Americans,

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

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

We appreciate that there is a highly sensitive balance of rights and responsibilities surrounding America’s gun laws, and we recognize the deep passion for and against the “open carry” laws adopted by many states. (In the United States, “open carry” is the term used for openly carrying a firearm in public.) For years we have listened carefully to input from our customers, partners, community leaders and voices on both sides of this complicated, highly charged issue.

Our company’s longstanding approach to “open carry” has been to follow local laws: we permit it in states where allowed and we prohibit it in states where these laws don’t exist. We have chosen this approach because we believe our store partners should not be put in the uncomfortable position of requiring customers to disarm or leave our stores. We believe that gun policy should be addressed by government and law enforcement—not by Starbucks and our store partners.

Recently, however, we’ve seen the “open carry” debate become increasingly uncivil and, in some cases, 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. Some anti-gun activists have also played a role in ratcheting up the rhetoric and friction, including soliciting and confronting our customers and partners.

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.

I would like to clarify two points. First, this is a request and not an outright ban. Why? Because we want to give responsible gun owners the chance to respect our request—and also because enforcing a ban would potentially require our partners to confront armed customers, and that is not a role I am comfortable asking Starbucks 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 Starbucks stores are places where everyone should feel relaxed and comfortable. The presence of a weapon in our stores is unsettling and upsetting for many of our 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.


Howard Schultz

Here’s a document describing how employees should respond to this new policy.

Starbucks new gun policyHere’s a note from an employee to Starbucks, sent to us moments ago on our Facebook page.

Below is local Washington DC news coverage of the story on the day it broke.  The men being interview are friends of ours from the Virginia Citizens Defense League.  The CEO has said he doesn’t want guns in his stores, and we will respect that and will buy our coffee elsewhere.

A bit of commentary here. It’s almost surreal that is has come to this.  One must reflect back on the last couple of years and wonder what has happened.  Is it possible that the overly ambitious open carry of rifles caused too much of an uproar for Starbucks to remain neutral?  Probably.  We may have forced Starbucks hand by pushing the limit of their patience.  Perhaps we played right into the hands of the anti-gunners and gave them too much ammunition.  It seems logical that if we handle the issue the same way with other neutral businesses, it will end in the same result. 

This might be the inevitable result of alienating those who had not yet made up their minds about gun rights.  Maybe we should stick to open carry of handguns, and leave the rifles at home?  Maybe we should try not to make such a big scene when we carry firearms at a private business, so as to force them to engage in the political battle because we have effectively turned their business into a political battlefield? Remember, part of this fight includes winning the hearts and minds of those not engaged on either side.

We don’t have all of the answers and we are not trying to assign blame for this about-face by Starbucks, but we would like to ask those of you who like to carry your ARs and M1As around town to think about what good is coming from it, and what possible damage is being done to our cause.

We lost one today, and this is a huge loss.  Now, we need to dust ourselves off and get back in the fight to defend our rights.

Additional commentary/opinion can be found on our blog;

~Peter, Founder – Second Amendment Check

Contact Starbucks and let them know they won’t have to worry about you coming to their store any more.

Starbucks on Facebook (Send them a note and UNLIKE them)

Website Contact Page


Starbucks Customer Relations
PO Box 3717
Seattle, WA 98124-3717


800-Starbuc (800-782-7282)
Mon – Fri 5 AM – 8 PM (PST)
Sat 6 AM – 4 PM (PST)



  1. Here is my letter to starbucks CEO
    September 20, 2013

    Mr. Howard Schultz
    Chief Executive Officer
    Starbucks Corporation
    2401 Utah Avenue South
    Seattle, Washington 98134

    Dear Mr. Schultz,
    I am disappointed that Starbucks has chosen to listen to a small, vocal, and apparently hysterical group. Unfortunately for you personally, and Starbucks in general, this particular issue will likely be studied in the B schools, once again reminding potential up and coming executives the risks of getting involved in polarizing issues, especially when there are other competitive choices available.

    Starbucks Inc., would have been better served by not responding to either side, as this issue is polarizing, and by not responding at all, avoids alienation. The prior response of Starbucks Inc. stating they follow all local laws as appropriate was great, because it sent a message that if people want this fixed, it has to be done legislatively. However, in Colorado, even bloomberg’s billions could not overcome the legislative will of the people, both Democrat and Republican.

    When Costco made their firearm position known, there was an increase in violent crimes against customers in their parking lot. Another corporation, CVS has seen an increase in crimes in their stores. These are the dirty little secrets that are seldom publicized, where suddenly criminals knew that customers were unlikely to be carrying firearms. I seldom go to any place where I know I can’t protect my family or myself. By making your statement that firearms are not welcome, Starbucks will attract non law abiding criminals. While somewhat cliché, the old adage, when seconds count, police are minutes away is very appropriate. Your public statement, while it is somewhat hedging, is now criminal trespassing in Michigan if a customer walks into a store with a firearm.

    While my small purchases will have zero impact to Starbucks Inc. annual sales, I will no longer be making purchases at your stores, or be purchasing any Starbucks branded products. By taking a side in this issue, you may have made a small vocal group very happy. However, Starbucks has now alienated a large and normally very silent group of now ex customers. As CEO, your primary responsibility is to increase shareholder value. By alienating a substantial portion of the US customers, I suspect you will soon begin seeing the impact in existing store sales.



  2. Open carry is only rarely a “demonstration”. In most states, it is a right, and hiding your self-defense tool is a gov’t-controlled privilege.

    What most news outlets are leaving out is what the CEO mentioned in an interview – the anti-rights people called for boycotts (which led to the appreciation days), the anti-rights people pestered customers, picketed stores, tried to get people to sign petitions.

    The pro-rights people went & had coffee. Yeah, some carried rifles, which I don’t see a need for, but it’s legal. We stood up to bullying, and we’re being painted as the bad guys. (The teacher always catches the kid who hits back.)

    I am disappointed in SBX, but will honor their request & spend my money elsewhere.
    I am also disappointed in the butters… the people who say “I suppport gun rights, but…” – but not open carry, but not rifles, but just keep it hidden, but you don’t need to carry for self-defense, etc.


  3. You need to note that it is 100% LEGAL in the state of Texas to open carry a rifle – without a license. I think blaming it on people who are following the laws to the letter is not right. This just proves Starbucks never really believed their own remark “Our company’s longstanding approach to “open carry” has been to follow local laws: we permit it in states where allowed and we prohibit it in states where these laws don’t exist”. Apparently that is not the case anymore. If it is legal, they should have taken thier own advice and told the complainers to “take it up with the legislators”.


  4. It’s not like I can carry a gun freely in California anyways but it is our right to bear arms however I agree that some people take advantage of our 2nd amendment. If I were an employee there and someone walked in with an AR15 I’d be a little scared.


  5. I don’t blame them. They tried to remain neutral, and people abused it by open-carrying AR-15s and AK-47s in the stores. I’m only surprised this didn’t happen sooner. And I’m not anti-gun – I’m a CCDW instructor…


  6. Honestly I do not really blame them. They stated their case originally as obeying the laws of the state that the store was in and PLEASE DO NOT USE US as a poster child or anything for either cause.

    What did “we” all do – made a BIG DEAL about Starbucks all over the place, we did EXACTLY what they asked us NOT to do and put them right in the middle of this whole mess.

    They tried to do what was right and only asked one thing from us but no, we couldn’t leave well enough alone. Basically “WE” forced them to make a call for ALL their stories by putting them in that position, and then with the Navy Yard shooting …. What all did you expect them to do ?

    MOST people today would be “uneasy” if 20 people showed up at the same time at a Starbucks with open carry weapons. We had to try to rub everyone’s noses in it. WE tried to force the issue and they did exactly what we do when someone TELLS us to do something – first instinct is to push back and say NO MORE. We tried to push them into a role that they did not want so they finally said NO. To an extant – we drove them to it.

    Now California does not have open carry any more just CCW, and NO GUN signs carry no weight in the state if you have a CCW. But if they SEE that you are carrying they can ask you to leave and if you don’t leave THEN it is trespassing and you can be sited for that.

    Now if YOU personally do not want to go to Starbucks any more – then don’t go. That is your right. But for me – it’s not going to affect my decision.

    (Wrote in one sitting so hope it makes sense).


    • I disagree. It is 100% legal to open carry a rifle anywhere, why should someone be prevented from doing so. These same demonstrations happened in Walmart and Target. They are not caving in. Starbucks advise to the complainers should have been their own advise in the letter. Take it up with the legislators. It just proves they were never really onboard in the first place.


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