With Starbucks finding itself in the crosshairs of a debate between gun control and firearms rights advocates, one would think that the CEO of the company would understand whether or not customers were allowed to carry loaded guns into his stores. One would be wrong.
During a Q&A session at a Wednesday meeting with Starbucks shareholders, CEO Howard Schultz tried to mollify concerns some shareholders had about customers being allowed to enter Starbucks with guns in open carry states.
“I do want to clarify something you said that is not right,” he responded. “You can’t walk into Starbucks with a loaded gun. So that’s not the issue. The issue is, the law allows you to walk in with a weapon that people can see that is unloaded.”
The fact is that, among the states permitting open carry, almost none require that the gun be unloaded. In Starbucks home state of Washington, for instance, it’s well within a customer’s rights to carry a loaded gun into their local Starbucks.
In its description of open carry policies in Washington, pro-gun group OpenCarry.org writes that “the practice is not common due to serial misinformation about the legality of it among law enforcement.”
Surprisingly, gun control group the Brady Campaign has jumped on Schultz’s gaffe to help advance its point that Starbucks should exercise its right to refuse entry to customers carrying firearms.
“Starbucks has been saying its policy just follows state law,” said Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign. “Not only does Starbucks have the legal right to keep guns out of its stores, but Mr. Schultz apparently does not know that most states allow the guns to be loaded. Once Mr. Schultz realizes how dangerous Starbucks’ policy really is, we hope he will act immediately to change it.”