Starbucks Caught In Crossfire Over Gun Debate

If you’d asked us a while back what company would find itself at the center of a power struggle between anti-gun activists and gun-rights supporters, we probably would not have guessed caffeine powerhouse Starbucks. But as the news that the ‘Bucks is okay with customers carrying guns into their stores where it’s permitted by law, there’s been a backlash by those now asking the company to rethink its policy.

But in a statement released yesterday, Starbucks not only defended its position, it also asked to just be left out of it all.

Reads the statement in part:

We have examined this issue through the lens of partner (employee) and customer safety. Were we to adopt a policy different from local laws allowing open carry, we would be forced to require our partners to ask law abiding customers to leave our stores, putting our partners in an unfair and potentially unsafe position.

As the public debate continues, we are asking all interested parties to refrain from putting Starbucks or our partners into the middle of this divisive issue. As a company, we are extremely sensitive to the issue of gun violence in our society. Our Starbucks family knows all too well the dangers that exist when guns are used irresponsibly and illegally. Without minimizing this unfortunate reality, we believe that supporting local laws is the right way for us to ensure a safe environment for both partners and customers.

After the release of this statement, gun-control activists The Brady Campaign staged a rally in Seattle, where Starbucks calls home.

“Starbucks put out a statement today saying they don’t want to be in the middle of this fight. Well, they are. They are the middle,” said Brian Malte of the Brady Campaign. “Why are they in middle? Because they chose — they chose — not to bar guns, so far, in their stores.”

Heidi Yewman of Million Mom March also spoke at the rally. She said that by allowing customers to openly carry guns in their stores, Starbucks is “violating the public’s trust, they’re violating their customers’ trust, they’re violating their employees’ trust and their violating the community’s trust.”

Where do you come down on this topic?

Starbucks Sticks To Its Guns [Seattle Post-Intelligencer]