Starbucks CEO: Don’t bring guns into our stores

An open letter in several major newspapers offers a request, not an outright ban. Even so, the backlash has begun.

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is risking the loss of droves of customers Wednesday morning with an open letter in The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and several other newspapers asking customers not to bring guns into Starbucks stores. The request isn’t a direct reaction to Monday’s shootings at the Washington Navy Yard, or at least, that incident isn’t mentioned in Schultz’s letter. The stated catalyst is a series of events called “Starbucks Appreciation Days,” which Schultz says inaccurately portrays the company as proponents of open-carry laws. “To be clear: We do not want these events in our stores,” Schultz wrote. “Some anti-gun activists have also played a role in ratcheting up the rhetoric and friction, including soliciting and confronting our customers and partners.” The Facebook page for the latest Starbucks Appreciation Day, which was in August, includes an image of the mermaid from the Starbucks logo holding two handguns. Schultz closes his letter with the request, which he later noted is not an outright ban: “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.”

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