Editorial: Starbucks sticks to its guns, can’t enforce policy

IneffectiveStarbucksPolicy.jpgAfter staying away from any issues involving guns, Starbucks recently asked customers to keep guns out of their stores. Starbucks did not ban guns, they just politely asked customers to keep guns out of their more than 12,000 stores nationwide.

That doesn’t mean that customers in states where guns are legal can’t still walk in to Starbucks with a gun and get their frappuccinos, cappuccinos or lattes. Starbucks just doesn’t want firearms in its stores.

As a private company, Starbucks has the right to ask customers to steer clear of bringing firearms into their stores.

We support the company’s right to free speech, but this is still a slippery slope for Starbucks. A move like this could be like opening Pandora’s Box.

Where will Starbucks’ position on gun rights leave the state of the company? How will it impact business? Will this move cause Starbucks to become a political target for gun rights groups? Will Starbucks franchises become an actual physical threat for gun violence?

Time will tell.

Starbucks and its CEO, Howard Schultz, have a history and a reputation of being progressive. For example, Starbucks employees receive above-average benefits. Starbucks has a sterling environmental reputation and has a strong amount of charitable giving.

Starbucks is a part of American culture. The coffee titan has reached an iconic status in America. It is practically a fashion statement to walk around with a Starbucks cup. Seemingly with stores on every block, Starbucks is making a statement by going public with its wishes to make its stores a gun-free environment.

The counterargument is that by trying to make its stores a gun-free environment, Starbucks might have actually accomplished the reverse by making its stores potential targets for violence. An area without guns could potentially be more dangerous than an area with guns.

Starbucks has held a tendency of leaving the gun argument to the lawmakers and staying out of the conversation entirely.

This is likely because Starbucks made more than $13 billion in profit in 2012 and would not want to risk alienating its customer base over a divisive, controversial issue such as gun rights.

By taking a step forward with its statement on keeping guns out of its stores, Starbucks is continuing to be a progressive cultural leader in corporate America and staying true to its ideals.

It’s a bold step for a leading company to take a stance on such a controversial issue, but Starbucks did not overstep its bounds. Starbucks did not declare that guns are illegal in its stores or say it would not serve those with concealed weapons; Starbucks only expressed its desire for its customers to leave their guns behind when they come in for coffee.

If gun owners are so attached to their guns that they can’t go through their daily routine without them, no worries, customers can still legally bring firearms into Starbucks and still receive coffee with no questions asked and no judgment passed.

Will concealed carriers stick to their guns and boycott Starbucks? Is Starbucks coffee so delicious that gun owners will opt for another supplier of coffee because of political ideology?

A reaction to avoid Starbucks might be too strong from gun activists, considering gun owners may still bring their firearms into Starbucks, but it’s not unreasonable by any means.

People with firearms may still be served coffee even though Starbucks does not encourage them to bring them into the store.

It’s well within Starbucks’ rights as a private company to do what it would like to within its stores. It’s possible that Starbucks will upset some customers by attempting to keep guns out of the chain, but it’s also likely that Starbucks gained favor in the eyes of others by being bold and trying to make their stores a safer environment that is free of firearms. Starbucks is the trendy place to study, read, chat with friends and sip on a delightful beverage of choice, but let’s hope it also continues to be a safe place to do so.