Our own worst enemy

Back in August I posted an article about the “Starbucks Appreciation Day” event which I titled “Slapping an Ally in the Face“. I expressed my disagreement with the event which brought out thousands of open carrying pro-gun activists to Starbucks stores across the nation. Gun owners felt we should show Starbucks our appreciation for their policy of neutrality by flooding them with armed activists and dragging the company into the middle of the national gun rights debate against their wishes. 

Starbucks memo

This cell phone picture presumably taken by a Starbucks employee of the memo outlining their new “no guns” policy.

In my article I pointed out that Starbucks had previously asked activists on both sides of the divisive issue not involve them in the debate. Starbucks issued a press release in 2010 stating that the company was neither pro-gun nor anti-gun and simply sought to honor both federal and state laws when it came to carrying firearms. Not to be dissuaded, pro-gun activists pressed forward pretending Starbucks was one of our staunchest allies and even going so far as to make Guns And Coffee stickers using the Starbucks logo.

In my August article I said “…because of our actions, I wouldn’t be surprised if Starbucks reconsiders their corporate policy.” Well, now they have.

A memo that appears to have been circulated internally to partners (Starbucks employees) that outlines a new corporate policy of “No Weapons in our Stores” has appeared online. The memo explains once again that the company is neither pro-gun nor anti-gun however due to recent events, and the actions of activists on both sides of the issue, they are instituting a new corporate policy of not allowing weapons in their stores. The memo tells the partners not to communicate this new policy to customers and states “external media sources” will be used to make the new policy widely known.

The Starbucks CEO outlined their new corporate policy in a blog post yesterday morning.

Already I’m starting to see angry posts from gun owners on the forums vowing never to buy Starbucks coffee again. Why? We have no one to blame but ourselves for their new policy. Starbucks tried to remain neutral but we, as a community, acted irresponsibly and disregarded their wishes by dragging their business into the middle of our fight — a fight they wanted nothing to do with.

guns and coffee

The “Guns and Coffee” sticker that many pro-gun activists are now vowing to remove from their vehicles.

We, as a community, are our own worst enemy at times. Many of us feel entitled and as a result we become militant in our behavior and begin to alienate potential allies. The fact we forced Starbucks into taking this action through our own irresponsible behavior is a black eye to our cause. We should be ashamed of ourselves and we most certainly shouldn’t blame Starbucks. We will only serve to make this worse by organizing demonstrations, writing angry emails and posts on their Facebook page, and by trying to organize some half-baked boycott. If you want to do something constructive, write a polite letter to Starbucks apologizing for dragging them into the middle of this debate and implore them to reconsider their policy.

…but that’s not likely to happen. The angry “IT’S MY RIGHT TO CARRY A GUN IN YOUR STORE!” posts have already began to flood the Starbucks Facebook page. Once again we’re pouring gas on the fire and worsening the situation by acting irresponsibly. Not only that, but we look like complete raving lunatics to the casual observer. Just a few weeks ago gun owners were flooding their Facebook page with laurels and accolades for their policy of neutrality and now that we’ve pushed them the other direction, we’re flooding the page with angry posts and threatening never to step foot in their stores again. 

I will continue to patronize my local Starbucks and I will continue to do so while carrying concealed. I will also write a polite letter to Starbucks expressing my remorse for the actions of our community during the “Starbucks Appreciation Day” event and ask that eventually they reconsider their new policy. I wish gun owners took a more pragmatic approach to defending our rights… now isn’t the time for hysterics and burning bridges. We need allies, not more enemies.


MAC is an avid shooter, former MCSF Marine, NRA member, Oath Keeper and is commissioned as a Colonel by the Governor of Kentucky. Known for his videos on the Military Arms Channel, he also writes for The Bang Switch, for Shotgun News (Be Ready!) and freelances for Guns & Ammo. MAC has been a life long shooter who has an interest in all things that go "bang" but gravitates towards military type firearms.

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  • Dave

    Yup. We all need to learn to check our extremism at the door.

    • Janet Starner

      Right! All this “In your face” attitude makes reasonable and on the fence people think that we’re whackos.. I am a 2nd amendment proponent and at least 3 people in my family have concealed carry permits. My grandkids all own guns and hunt and many of them went through 4H shooting sports training. Responsible gun owners do not act this belligerantly when faced with reasonable people who disagree with them.

    • Keith Hamlett

      This ‘In Your Face attitude’ is the exact approach the gay community uses against anyone that is against their political agenda. Everyone knows that Starbucks is a Left Wing, Hippie, Liberal, Anti-American, Anti-Capitalist, Organization. I don’t give a damn if their policy is a ‘NO GUNS’ policy. If they want to disarm themselves and their customers while Thugs rob, steal, intemidate, and murder everyone then so be it. I’m tired of the liberals in this country walking over everyone while the Conservatives just sit back and watch their country being stolen from them. Time for the gun community to get some balls and be proactive instead of reactive. Semper Fidelis,

      • booker

        Starbucks is anti-capitalist? They’re looking at nearly $15B in revenue for FY13, a double-digit percentage increase over last year. They employ thousands of people either directly or by extension of products the business consumes. In what way are they anti-capitalist?

  • Dan

    Well put. Anger will get us no where, nor will dragging unwilling participants in. Thinking with a clear mind is the best thing to do.

  • https://www.facebook.com/keith.finch.94 Keith Finch

    Well said, I expressed similar views this morning.
    The gun community took a policy of business neutrality to mean what it didn’t, and now that same community is mad because it didn’t mean what they wanted it to mean. Starbucks doesn’t want to be dragged into this fight, they want to sell coffee. They don’t survive by being dragged into this fight, they do so buy selling coffee. Any decision Starbucks makes is going to be in an attempt to sell coffee. Their business lives and dies by selling coffee, not supporting civil rights, hard truth of the morning there.

    I will still carry and buy coffee at Starbucks, though I frequent Biggby (Beaners) more

    • http://yahoo johnny juneau

      Very well said need to use own head for something other than a Hat rack.

    • gun plz

      If Starbucks doesn’t want to be dragged into the fight and wants to service both sides of the isle simply don’t take a position saying you cant carry a gun in there establishments is going to cause a stir oh and by the the way just because
      the put a sign saying you cant carry a fire arm in Starbucks means nothing all states set the guidelines to carry not Starbucks.

      • http://gravatar.com/touweasl Gooby plz

        You obviously don’t understand the reason they’re doing this “gun plz”. It’s pure PR. They don’t really care if someone is carrying in their store, they just don’t want to be responsible for people doing so. I would do it in their place too, it’s the best possible action to take business-wise. They wouldn’t have done this if they weren’t forced to.

  • https://www.facebook.com/charles.stradley Charles Stradley

    I still won’t support Starbucks because they won’t support the troops. They were asked by an organization that sends packages to the troops to donate coffee etc. and they refused. If they don’t support our troops I don’t support them. So if they don’t support the troops why would you think they would support carry rights?

    • Bryan
    • http://yoveomedia.com Nathan Lee
    • https://www.facebook.com/def90 Chad Alberts

      The old Starbucks doesn’t support our troops email was debunked as being false a long long time ago..

    • https://www.facebook.com/jon.culbreath Jon Culbreath

      That was a hoax many years ago, and its completely false. I’m in the military and researched it myself. It’s sad that this is still believed by many (no offense at all), so please try to pass the word!

    • Allan

      And on top of the fact that your information is outdated and debunked, you’re joining the masses as one of the people missing the whole point of what Starbucks is doing. It’s not about supporting your carry rights lol.. Smh people can’t ever seem to understand it. This kind of thinking is what’s causing all this to happen, both the positives and the negatives.

    • Dangail64

      I am not sure what Starbucks you went to, but I went to one in San Diego, and they were selling bags a coffee, in which 100% went to the troops. I have seen nothing but support from them, in the Military community that I live in

    • Sarah

      You need to recheck your facts on that statement…. http://news.starbucks.com/about+starbucks/myths+facts/militarydonations.htm

    • https://www.facebook.com/john.crook.186 John Crook

      Don’t believe everything you hear without researching a bit first.

    • Wolf

      Exactly, gun pro or con means nothing to me, I could careless how they feel about my gun. The fact that a billion dallor industry couldnt afford a few thousand dollars worth of coffee for our troops is my issue with Starbucks.

      • Mark

        BUT IT DIDN’T HAPPEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Think what you wish of Starbucks, but the story told above is false.

    • Cathy

      That is incorrect and an internet/email myth. Starbucks is a corporate sponsor of the USO. Starbucks supports troops. Also being FRG leader I can tell you Starbucks coordinates with family groups and other organizations for care package drives, operation caffeination, and many other projects such as homecoming receptions. Not to mention military discounts and all of their on base stores (Starbucks is in every exchange mall I have seen from east to west coast) donate to the base MWR facilities. That whole rumor started because it is against their corporate policy not send donations to individual people and a fake letter set up on the internet.

  • Chefjon

    You were the first person I thought of when I saw this story. I wouldn’t open carry, even if I could legally. My personal policy is to carry concealed any and every place that won’t get me *arrested*. If someone notices and asks me to leave, I just won’t come back. That easy, that simple. It is a shame that people can’t leave well enough alone.

  • http://gravatar.com/millerdanl millerdanl

    Awesome comentary! I agree with you 100%!

  • Ty

    Completely agree.

  • PeterK

    I look forward to posting this article EVERYWHERE, haha. Because you did “told us so”. I think many of us knew this was coming. :(

    • PeterK

      Been thinking about this a lot. I kind of change my mind.

      This whole letter smacks of pandering and equivocation. NOT neutrality. Not being an enemy doesn’t make you an ally anyway.

      It also seems politically expedient. If they were truly neutral they’d just reiterate that, not put out this weird letter that smacks of ignorance. It’s almost passive aggressive in it’s attempts to appear neutral. And it happens to close to a mass shooting? I dunno. Seems odd, though obviously there’s nothing concrete there.

      I don’t know. Maybe this is just what happens when you try and force a fight, but that doesn’t seem like what’s going on. Not to me.

      • Holy Rapist

        There are many responsible gun owners out there. However, events like ‘starbucks appreciation day’ brings out the Ted Nugents of the world and his terrorist wife, neither of whom could be considered responsible gun owners.

        Starbucks is HAPPY these nuts are gone and good riddance.

  • Vidd

    Good points.

  • https://www.facebook.com/terry.zach Terry Zach

    Agreed. The loonies on both sides of this debate forced a decision. The armed loonies lost. The real losers are those of us that realize the reality and second order consequences of actions. On a side note I hate Starbucks anyway so no skin off my nose on that front anyway.

  • http://youtube.com/user/ultimatehistorybuff1 Drake B

    It only takes a few jackasses and a couple of “non-thinkers” in a crowd to ruin it for everyone. You were right when you said that it would work against us and now it has. I think our community needs to wrestle in some of the wingnuts and over-excitable people by having calm and consistant reminders of what it means to be a responsible citizen. The rule of thumb here is that just because you have a natural right given to you by your creator, doesn’t mean you have the right to be an a-hole about it.

    • ShootistBob

      In most municipalities in Illinois, open carry of a weapon would get you arrested for brandishment or creating a public nuisance. I commented at the time that we should not have forced Starbucks into the gun controversy. In Chicago, their mayor wants to use their commercial enterprise licensing authority to force all restaurants and bars to prohibit concealed carry on their premises. We gun owners need to present ourselves to the public as rational and civilized citizens, if we want to dispel the anti-gunners portrayal of us as rabid sociopaths with an almost sexual desire to handle firearms. I will own firearms till the day I die, but I don’t have an NRA bumper sticker because I don’t want to arouse the ire of my bleeding heart liberal neighbors. Remember that those who don’t learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat them.

  • Cole

    Very well said.

  • http://gravatar.com/daltona117 daltona117

    Completely agree. Gotta say that I am often disappointed at how reactionary some of the members of our cause can be. That’s now how we are going to win this battle. We have to be above the zealots on the other side and show just how crazy THEY are, not reinforce our own stereotypes.

  • ChrisH.

    Thanks Tim. My thoughts exactly.

  • Gee William

    Spot on!

  • Dan M

    Well Said. We did it to ourselves.

  • http://gravatar.com/smokeybehr smokeybehr

    As a former Starbucks Partner (employee) I can vouch for the authenticity of that memo. It conforms to the usual memo format, including logo, fonts and layout. I’m going to ask the manager at my usual SB if I can get a copy of that memo, or at least look at it.

  • Brian in MN

    Anyone know a Starbucks employee who can verify this? While it may well be true it is also a pretty easy thing to hoax. If it is a hoax it has worked perfectly.

    • http://www.military-arms.com MAC

      Follow the links in the article. I link to the Starbucks CEO’s blog post about the subject and also to a CNBC article/press release.

      • https://www.facebook.com/KimHusseinBrunelle Kim Hussein Brunelle

        I just wanted to thank you for this letter MAC. I believe that most gun owners feel exactly the way you do, and are embarrassed by the actions of a few loonies who just had to push the envelope beyond the bounds of common sense. I am not a gun owner, but I do believe that everyone has the right to own weapons, as long as said guns are used and stored safely and responsibly. You’ve done a major service to all gun owners by writing this and I applaud your efforts.

  • http://www.gotcpl.com Dean Craig

    100% agree with you MAC

  • http://taxmancpa.com cpa@taxmancpa.com

    Well Said. Keep up the good work.

  • TunnelRat

    Buy a Keurig. Going to Starbucks adds up really fast, idk about you but I’d rather spend that money on ammo.

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  • Don

    For starbucks this isn’t about politics. The unsaid policy in any shop that the owner expects of its customers is that they don’t antagonize each other in my shop. This is an unsaid policy because people should have the common sense to abide by it without being told. The customer isn’t always right, and the owner has a right to expect this of the customer.

    If a hate group started exercising their right to free speech for the purposes of activism or to antagonize a shop’s patrons then they’d be asked to shut up or go do their “work” somewhere else, same as the open carry 2A activists, or any activist.

    I’ve noticed a disturbing trend all across the board with every interest group, good or bad. We are weaponizing our rights. Our enumerated rights are established in the constitution as a defense, so that we may do as we please in our own lives without being attacked for it. But that’s not enough for some people. Some people get up in the morning and go out looking to antagonize people. You certainly have the right to try, but don’t be surprised when you get a bad response. Sure this is a valid tool in the activism tool-kit, but it’s not always productive and in many cases counterproductive. Open carry activists at starbucks and posting youtube videos of confrontations with police (if you google “dick on dick action” you get gay videos and open carrier + police encounters) are counterproductive.

  • http://gravatar.com/korviskorax Korvis

    I agree with the “I told you so” part and that some members of the RKBA community have brought this upon all of us through their antics. However, I will *not* be buying coffee at Starbucks for the foreseeable future. Howard Schultz’s open letter indicates that the concern was with with open carry, but instead of asking people simply to cover up their firearms the company “respectfully” asked us not to carry at all. I do not respond well to a vendor (even if only a vendor of coffee) “respectfully” asking me to leave my rights in the car or at home. Starbucks overreacted, and (notwithstanding the legal irrelevance of the change in policy) I will respect its request and will buy overpriced caffeinated products elsewhere until it reconsiders.

    • Mark

      “I do not respond well to a vendor (even if only a vendor of coffee) “respectfully” asking me to leave my rights in the car or at home.”

      You have the right to dress in just a Speedo, too, but let’s see how many establishments will serve you that way. “Public” ends at the front door of a merchant. They really DO have the right to refuse service to anyone, as you see on signs in any service business. People who act like their own rights trump the merchant’s, in the merchant’s own establishment, are the reason that the large number of on-the-fence people think that second amendment activists are fools.

  • Brian in MN

    Seems it is true. “In an interview, CEO Howard Schultz said the decision to ask customers to stop bringing guns into stores came as a result of the growing frequency of “Starbucks Appreciation Days” in recent months, in which gun rights advocates turn up at Starbucks cafes with firearms.”


  • http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIPNHdOgSxlhMXWeoUMdiUw ghostwheel


    Kona Hawaii has great coffee! Moved here in part because of the coffee! We have coffee parades, world class cupping competition, a public “Cream of the crop” competition with free coffee and desert tasting at a world class resort, Miss Kona Coffee Coffee art competition, coffee picking contest. Unfortunately the pest: coffee berry borer (Hypothenemus hampei) has also moved in recently.

    Kona Peaberry is awesome. Here are some interesting Kona coffee links:






    Okay now back to guns!

  • g

    Well said, MAC. When you wrote your original article, I thought it was prophetic at the time… unfortunately, what you predicted happen. Sad.

  • http://www.firearms-safety-llc.com Claude

    Most of these people couldn’t seduce a hooker with a $50 bill in their hands. Social skills education is in order just as much, if not more so, than firearms training.

  • https://www.facebook.com/JeffPederson1986 Jeff Pederson

    Good post, thanks for the article, MAC.

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  • Rich @ Tactical Applications Consulting & Training

    I think we brought this on our selves. Yes we have the right to open carry but when we have people in the gun community open carry an AK-47 while walking down a city street knowing you will be harassed is hurting our cause. Starbucks welcomed open carry and it would not have been a problem with sidearms, but last week there were a few guys on the news sitting at the outside tables with an AR and Ak and it just brings us attention we don’t need. Same as Gay rights parade. Yes they have the right to do it, but when they march with assless chaps and dildos on there head. Is it helping or hurting their cause? We have enough gun haters out there. We don’t need to throw it in their faces and give them ammo to hurt our cause.

  • -dmw-

    While I completely agree with your point, it’s worth noting that “Guns & Coffee” icon was originally created by The Brady Campaign when they tried to get SBux to change their gun policy a few years ago.

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  • Cameron

    It’s the wording that got me. It didn’t differentiate between open and concealed carry. It just flatly said no weapons. Seeing as how leaving a gun in a car is a less than satisfactory solution, I will not patronize them further. The militant open carry movement has been annoying me but Starbuck’s wording has left something to be desired.

  • Josh B

    Eh whatever. They average at best coffee was way overpriced to begin with so I never went there anyway. The thing that really annoys me about this whole situation though is this: Starbucks made it clear that they support gay marriage and equality for all, blah blah blah. (I, for the record, agree with it personally. You love who you love) By claiming neutrality on the gun issue, they pretty much already said they didn’t agree with it, this thing just reinforces that mentallity. And now by doing this, essentially anyone that speaks out in disagreement, even if its as calm and cool as possible, will now be seen as a crazy person to the uneducated masses.

    I didn’t agree with their lack of taking a stance when they went out of their way other times to take one. I certainly don’t agree with me, or anyone else in the gun community, especially those who didn’t partake in this “thank you demonstration”, writing a letter of apology for what really constitutes people coming and spending more money than they would on a certain day.

    Everything would be much better if we can finally remove the stigma from guns that the anti-gunners constantly put on them. This stance being taken by Starbucks does the exact opposite of that. If they had any idea of home many guns come and go from their stores everyday, maybe they would change their mind.

  • M Jarvis

    ‘We’ did this to ourselves, just like MAC predicted…. Some people just feel they have to make a point – consequences (and good sense) be damned…. On the last Saturday that was an ‘appreciation day’ I intended to go into Starbucks and buy some items, while NOT open carrying. But make it a point to mention that I appreciated their neutrality… BUT I just couldn’t FIND the darn place and it’s supposed to be right near where I live – I couldn’t believe it!! I rarely if ever go in to SB’s to begin with….

  • B. E. Smith

    I like Starbucks, and will continue to patronize their stores. I agree that “we” did this to ourselves. The fanatics on both sides of the gun issue are the one who make headlines. The quiet (and more reasonable) few, sit in the middle and wonder why we can’t disagree, agreeably.

  • Chris

    I am not upset at all with the Starbucks decision. They were not supporting open carry or the 2A and folks who promote open carry did not notice that. Starbucks merely stated that local laws would be respected and if those laws allowed for open carry than so be it. The pro open carry community jumped on that as an opportunity to promote agenda that is no more different than the same anti-gun rhetoric being spewed all over the media.

    That being the case, Starbucks as a business does not want those who carry or those who don’t to find their establishments uncomfortable. That means a loss of money for their share holders. I carry concealed daily and since there is no wording on no concealed carry I will frequent their establishment when I feel like spending 5 bucks on coffee while concealed. To win the gun rights debate, gun owners need to understand the other side, not further alienate ourselves.

    They already think we are lunatics and in the US it doesn’t take much more than a gun on your hip to prove that to many who fear guns. Hell, many people are deathly afraid of someone with a pocket knife over 1 inch. In my opinion the anti gun people are merely scared of firearms, scared to carry them and scared to touch them. This makes them unarmed and vulnerable, vulnerability makes humans do strange things.

    If you want to change the movement, get the media to pull their heads out of their asses and quit demonzing the gun and demonize those who use the gun for malice. Don’t go grab your biggest, baddest hand gun or rifle and walk the streets that only promotes the fear. Cover it up, get your permit to carry concealed if you can and if you see your fellow man in need of help, then help and protect your fellow man. That will turn that fear into respect and admiration. Gun owners showing that they are compassionate individuals goes a lot further than showing we are angry and have the “ultimate tool of destruction” on our hip.

    • Russ

      Well said and I totally agree.

  • Tom from the socialist state of NY

    I agree with you 100%. It is unfortunate however that you can not openly show a business your support for like beliefs but thats the way this country is headed. I however do not have any of their stores nearby and have never spent a dime there is no big loss for me, there are plenty of mom & pop establishments near me who share similiar beliefs.

  • B. E. Smith

    Just a follow up: I am a staunch supporter of the right to carry weapons CONCEALED. This assures a reasonable measure of safety and security. I am, however, adamantly opposed to “open carry’ – seems too much like going back to the days of the wild, wild, west.

  • Bman

    I completely agree. We in the gun community always seem to be in a defensive posture anyway. As soon as a shooting happens on the news it’s always the issue of the availability of getting firearms..especially what is termed “assault” weapons and to bring unneeded publicity and some always taking it to the extreme is just foolish,

  • agreensmudge

    Unfortunately I saw this coming.

    It’s good to btvigilant, but that is not the same as being over zealous about putting fourth our view points on our rights.

  • http://xdtalk.com Ed Ely


  • Ron

    Well said !!!

  • Sal

    The most awesome thing about the right in the state of Nevada to “CONCEALED” carry none of you will ever know I have my gun on me..

  • D. Hide

    You were right all along, Mac. Well, it’s not the end of the world. It’s an important lesson for the future. Unlike our opposition, we learn and adapt much better – We can make miracles happen but we can also destroy our own footing if we’re not careful.

  • Joshua

    This honestly doesn’t surprise me any. During my recent years in the military overseas, Starbucks was asked to help our troops who wanted coffee. Their response, “we don’t support the war.” Seems to me like they just lost a good amount of customers. I haven’t bought anything from them since as long as I can remember for that very reason.

    • Totenglocke

      “During my recent years in the military overseas, Starbucks was asked to help our troops who wanted coffee. Their response, “we don’t support the war.””

      Now I’m as irked with Starbucks as the next guy, but you seriously stopped buying from them just because they wouldn’t give you free food / coffee because of your job?

      • Crandall

        This rumor has been debunked a long time ago anyway…

    • http://gravatar.com/onibabamama Taylor
    • https://www.facebook.com/john.crook.186 John Crook

      Do your research. That’s been debunked many times as untrue. They do indeed support the troops with thousands upon thousands of coffee donations.

  • M Jarvis

    AND, this could go a long way to embolden the gun grabbers to go after whatever company they want to get them to go anti 2nd Amendment….

  • Mr. Technique

    Well written.

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  • Peter

    Stabucks new policy is no “open carry” in it’s stores. What about “concealed carry?”

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  • M Jarvis

    And at the stroke of a pen (or press release), Starbucks just created how many hundreds more Kill-Me Zones?

  • Carlos Uhlmann

    Tim, I commend you for saying what many gun owners would not want to hear. I would venture to say that one of the biggest problems in our society is the abdication of personal responsibility, second to using common sense in our affairs. You are absolutely correct in your assertions. Indeed great is the right we have to keep and bear arms but so is the responsibility. Thank you for remind us all of that fact and having the courage not to mince words but get the message across.

    Semper Fi!

  • rhet

    From reading the letter, I believe very little, if anything, has changed. The policy states for the “partners” to not convey any information to customers, and to only take action if someone is armed and being disruptive. Theoretically, an OC activist could OC to Starbucks under the new policy, and be treated the same as before. This new policy is as polite as it can be in putting activists on notice to not continue being total d-bags.

    That said, it is an embarrassment that misguided, overzealous activism played a part in forcing Starbuck’s’ hand.

  • Don Jones

    I am always amazed at the stupidity of some gun owners. For some reason they insist on pushing the envelope by instigating controversy. I never open carry. Why would I. I never flash my weapon. Why would I. Starbucks has been doing the correct thing in not taking sides and by involving them all we do is call attention to ourselves and as you say, put Starbucks in the middle. Starbucks has been riding the fence on the issue and as a business owner I sympathize with them.

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  • Chris B

    I agree with you’re argument of being pragmatic, but I recommend that gun owners politely and respectfully stop going to Starbucks. I imagine that the economic capabilities of a group of people who financially support one of the largest industries in this great country will have a huge impact. Starbucks does not want me with a gun in their store. So be it. I will be with a gun elsewhere.

  • http://gravatar.com/walterwart walterwart

    Perspective, empathy, self-awareness and insight. Seeing that in any discussion around any issue anywhere within a mile of guns is like finding four identical snowflakes.

  • Lane

    Great post MAC! Many gun owners fail to see the importance of public relations in the defense of gun ownership and the Second Amendment. When warned to keep the inflammatory rhetoric and action down so as not to turn away moderate, middle ground, or undecided citizens (or, as in this case, companies), some extremist advocates scoff and say that the battle for gun rights has gone too far for kid gloves, or that the issue is all or nothing. This example proves the harm in ignoring concerns of public image.

    Respecting the rights and interests of other Americans and companies, like Starbucks–especially those who try to stay neutral–is not submission. Instead, it can garner friends. Or, at the very least, it can avoid making new enemies or hardships.

  • http://jbz jbz

    s a d starbucks appreciation day.

  • Charlie Kilo

    So, because someone’s feelings were hurt because someone else decided to exercise a Constitutional right, you are endorsing that perception of hurt feelings? If Starbucks said “No more discussing GOP politics in the store” or “No more (insert ethnicity)” or “No more (insert sexual orientation)”; there’d be public outcry. How is this different?

    • Totenglocke

      “If Starbucks said “No more discussing GOP politics in the store” or “No more (insert ethnicity)” or “No more (insert sexual orientation)”; there’d be public outcry. How is this different?”

      Because most gun owners are incredibly self-loathing and think cowering in front of their enemies will earn them friendship.

  • Mike

    I disagree with MAC’s post and with most of the commenters here, I guess, putting me in the minority. I have to get two things out of the way first before someone accuses me of being something I am not: (1) I am not a big fan of open carry, as I don’t think it gives you much more advantage over CC. And (2) I don’t advocate confrontations with police just to make a point. I think police officers have a tough enough job without gun owners deliberately going out of their way to make a point and trying to get an officer in a “gotcha” moment. It is stupid and childish, neither characteristic being desirable in a person handling a firearm.

    But I am going to just throw this out there, though…These folks who instigate OC confrontations with police and the rabid OC following that has pushed Starbucks to its current request would not feel like making a point if the government respected the “…shall not be infringed” portion of the Second Amendment. There would be no point to make and, thus, there would be no significant emotional event when/if someone OCd in an establishment. I feel that everyone on here agreeing with MAC has forgotten that basic point…MAC included…and this demonstrates how far left public opinion has been pushed in the gun rights arena.

    I am all for being smart about it — I don’t want to be around a dummy with a gun. However, I don’t think we need to roll over and piss ourselves on everything related to OC/CC, either. That is what has gotten us in the position we are in right now.

    • Crandall

      Starbucks is a public business. Not a local forum for demonstration or debate. They are also not the “government”. Their goal is to make money selling a product or service. From Starbucks recent Q&A sheet: “recently activist groups on both sides of the gun debate have politicized our company and brand for their own benefit while putting our partners in a position of conflict.” Open carry of long-guns photo-ops and political statements is illogical, and unnecessarily stirs the pot. In a different forum it would make sense.

  • https://www.facebook.com/erma.gherd.96 Erma Gherd

    I never carried at Starbucks. Since they have decided to take sides, I will too. Bye Starbucks, your coffee was mediocre anyways.

  • Ted

    When you consider this

    and that

    then should we really be surprised by that decision??

    I think that this decision is a good thing for us.It may feel like a cold shower for some sensitive people who love gun and overrated super expensive medium quality coffee.
    But it reminds us that when you give money to starbucks, you’re funding the guys on the other side.
    Seriously Schultz has never been neutral. He’s always been in favor of little Barry and his Obamacare (which, you know, is containing some pretty bad provisions concerning gun owners privacy).
    Come on guys there are a s***load of small venues who serve greater quality coffee for half the price. Schutz has never been and will never be our friend. Period.

  • Totenglocke

    “In my article I pointed out that Starbucks had previously asked activists on both sides of the divisive issue not involve them in the debate.”

    Which was obviously just PR bullshit or they would not have chosen to make their stores anti-gun.

    “Starbucks tried to remain neutral but we, as a community, acted irresponsibly and disregarded their wishes by dragging their business into the middle of our fight — a fight they wanted nothing to do with.”

    The anti-gun groups like Morons Demand Victims did the same, yet you don’t see Starbucks banning them from the stores.

    “I will continue to patronize my local Starbucks and I will continue to do so while carrying concealed. ”

    So you’ll continue to support a company that does not support your rights. To quote Leonard Nimoy: “That is illogical”. By continuing to purchase from them, you are telling them that you support their new position. You can write whatever polite letters you want, but at the end of the day all that matters to them is that you’re still forking over $5 a cup to them and your letters will be ignored.

    “We need allies, not more enemies.”

    According to you (multiple times!) Starbucks was always neutral, never an ally. Now that they’ve officially declared themselves to be our enemy, why are you trying to claim like they were (or are) our ally?

  • https://www.facebook.com/travis.gilbert.92 Travis Gilbert

    100% agree with you MAC. Quite often we are our own worst enemy.

  • M Jarvis

    Look at us – fighting amongst ourselves and jumpin’ on MAC’s case because he presented a well thought out opinion on the matter? If you are getting on MAC’s case over this are you saying that anyone out there who isn’t FOR us is AGAINST us? Is that how this is going to go down? MAC is a hardass when it comes to 2A but that’s not good enough? MAC’s right – we ARE our own worst enemy if it’s come to this….

  • http://eklypse94.wordpress.com Cleone Eklypse

    Point. We as humans often shoot ourselves in the foot on these issues (pun intended). We wave our opinions around like shiny new toys, and poke our friends in the eye. Then we get angry because our friends don’t want to play.

  • Jamie

    requesting concealed carry only would have been the appropriate response I think. His response went beyond that, and he is saying gun owners are unwelcome. I like coffee drinks, but I am planning to avoid starbucks and hope that they might change their policy. But I doubt they will.

  • David

    This goes to show that if “we” (the gun community) put a business against the wall the outcome will always be same!!! The business has to choose “business” over politics, it is that simple!!! The 2nd Amendment does not in any way shape or form give any of us the “right” to carry a firearm into a private business, if you believe otherwise do your research, there are court cases that have upheld this.

    Furthermore, the 2nd Amendment gives us the “right” to bear arms as long as doing so does not violate the constitutional rights of other people. We are our own worst enemies!!! The moment that I exercise my right to carry a firearm and by doing so I alarm, disturb, intimidate, offend, scare, or put in fear any person without any legitimate purpose the 2nd Amendment will always be trumped!!!

    Whether we like it or not there are anti-gun people, whether we like it or not there are people who are afraid/scared of firearms. These people, even if their fears or biases are unfounded are making a better “heard” argument at every corner. We continue to loose ground everyday!!! If is not a psycho with a gun, is people open-carrying at a Starbucks. There is a time and a place for everything, what purpose does going to a Starbucks with a 1911 strapped to your leg served??? NONE, In any case this has hurt our cause!!!

    I will continue to go to Dunkin Donuts, much better coffee anyways!!!!

    • Charlie Kilo

      The anti-2A rhetoric scares and intimidates me. In fact, most liberal policies alarm, disturb, and offend me. Burning flags offends me. MSNBC alarms and scares me. We should ban all of those things and/or charge those people/entities.

      No, the 2A is just like any other enumerated right, protected. A bakery was sued for not baking a cake for a gay couple. This is a civil rights case and everyone is bowing down to our opponents under the guise of “not angering/alarming/upsetting hoplophobes”. This policy of appeasement must stop. We are either for the freedom to express our rights and allowing businesses and people to make those choices freely, or we aren’t.

      As a point, we didn’t take the fight to Starbucks. Morons Demands Victims showed up with signs and a boycott. The 2A community showed up to break the picket lines and show support to Starbucks for being neutral.

      As another point, like totenglocke said, either they were neutral or they were our ally. They can’t be both.

      • David

        And, yes, just like in the 1st Amendment, you have freedom of speech, but if you yell “fire” in a crowded theater as a joke or with no legitimate purpose, you just violated everyone’s civil rights, making your freedom of speech “null and void!!!” Just an example, but contrary to popular belief the 2nd Amendment can be change, it could even been completely taken out of the bill of rights. Sadly, our country is heading in the wrong direction on many important points, and gun owner’s and the 2nd Amendment are being trampled on and taking the back seat in most cases.

        Yes, have won some minor battles, but we are losing the war, so to speak!!! You mentioned a gay couple not been able to buy a cake and suing, if the discrimination was solely based on them being gay is a violation of civil rights, which they would have to prove. But, how many civil lawsuits have there been for someone with a firearm not being served??? I know of on-duty police officers being asked to leave an establishment because they were armed!!! It is very simple, any business that has a “carrying a firearm issue” does not get my business, it is their right, and so it is my right to conduct business somewhere else!!!

        • Charlie Kilo

          I was waiting for that one… Because yelling fire in a theater, when there isn’t one, directly hurts people. Carrying an inanimate object doesn’t hurt anyone. It doesn’t matter if its a pistol or a rifle. Gun rights are gun rights. My rights end at me. When my rights immediately restrict the rights of others, it’s a problem. Fire in a theater is that example. Pretty soon, with this line of thought you are willing to accept, it will be “They carry guns, and we don’t even know it! I’m scared and we should get rid of concealed carry”. How much are we willing to give up? When are we going to fight? Are we going to keep with this policy of appeasement? I can cite a few times when that policy has failed.

          I swear, this sounds like 1994 all over again. Hunters saying “Go ahead, ban them assault rifles. It don’t affect my bolt gun.”

          Sure, the 2A can be changed. But, do you see that happening without a massive fight? The idea of a Republic is to protect the minority from a majority. We are not a minority, yet.

  • Nick Frenken

    Here’s the real problem. Gun owners and those that cherish their rights, especially the 2nd, NEED TO STOP THE IN-FIGHTING!

    How many other stores do you patronize that don’t permit any kind of carry? Why isn’t that an issue? That doesn’t stop the vast majority of gun owners from shopping there, unarmed.

    Let’s be 100% clear on this. The CEO of Starbucks dragged Starbucks into this. You are pissed off at people who would support your gun rights because of ONE NATIONAL COFFEE CHAIN? How easily we are defeated.

    • Totenglocke

      “How many other stores do you patronize that don’t permit any kind of carry?”

      Zero. Oh, weren’t expecting someone who actually stands by their principles? Sorry.

      “You are pissed off at people who would support your gun rights because of ONE NATIONAL COFFEE CHAIN? How easily we are defeated.”

      I’m only “pissed off” at gun owners trying to convince others that Starbucks really is pro-gun despite this ban. As for those who will keep going there? I feel sorry for them for thinking that submission and surrender will get them what they want.

  • Trevor

    Let me start by saying I haven’t been in a Starbucks in years- I just don’t care about them. Nor in my state, Colorado, do no-gun signs mean anything to a CC’er so this decision mean precisely nothing to me in any practical way.

    However, Starbucks’ policy was a poor attempt at neutrality that enthused the pro-2A people as at least being publicly neutral on the topic. This neutrality earned them a lot of business during the “Starbucks Appreciation Days” over the years, but they have come under fire from the anti-gun groups lately and have revoked their neutrality and joined sides with the anti-gun position. That is their corporate decision to make but I doubt they will have any more “Starbucks Appreciation Day” revenue and many pro-2A people will simply stop buying their coffee. As a business decision, only time will tell whether it was a good one. They are a publicly owned entity and if I were a stock owner, I would nervous about the business decision to alienate people.

  • Gus

    Thank you sir, I couldn’t agree more and refused to be involved in any of the crap brought forth by fools.

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  • Mike J

    I will simply follow the laws of my state – Alaska. If they put a sign on the door that says “no guns” I will turn around a leave. I won’t put my gun away for them.

  • Mike

    I guess MAC is right. We are our own worst enemy…when we cannot distinguish an ally from a foe. Face it, Starbucks was never an “Ally.” To say that they are/were is to fool yourself. Starbucks just played both ends against the middle in order to make a buck. It’s all about the bottom line.

    And, oh yeah, let’s blame ourselves for the problem. Self-flagellation is so productive.

    And then let’s get all butt-hurt when other pro-gun folks disagree with us. We have to accuse them of…ooohh…wait for it….INFIGHTING. Because they obviously aren’t part of our team. That’s productive, too.

    Hey, brothers, I hate to break it to you…I don’t want everyone to have the same opinion as me. That would be scary…it would be a world full of lemmings. I can, however, respect other people’s opinions (except the ones whining about infighting and the others who think we are the cause of all of the pro-gun world’s ills).

    My apologies, Tim. I’ll stop following this thread now.

    • John M

      I wish all the open carry idiots would get a clue… damn right we are our own worst enemy!!

      • John M

        Open carry was never an issue until a bunch of a-holes decided to put their 2A rights provoking videos on You Tube. Guess what, now states are banning open carry.. Don’t tell me we aren’t our own worst enemy!

    • http://gravatar.com/poolsclosedson Adam

      I get the sarcasm, but that ain’t it: “Blame ourselves for the problem?” Who the fuck else is to blame, in this case? Remove the idiots who love to show off their guns and are about as knee-jerk as the biggest liberal tool and there would be no problem. The calm, rational gun folks get drowned by you idiots.

      Anyway, it’s way too late. Thanks MAC.

  • Max

    Yea because the gay rights crowd won by cupitualation and being tolerant of those who said hey we don’t want gays in our stores….. Ahh No that is the opposite of what happened. We feel entitled you said. You are damn right we are entitled. We are talking about the SECOND AMENDMENT here. Articles like this drivel foretell the future. We will lose because we are too pussy assed for a real fight. The gay & lesbians are the Spartans of politics…gun owners are the slaves.

  • http://gravatar.com/poolsclosedson Adam

    Love your articles MAC, thanks.

    I can’t agree with your notion of “entitlement,” though. It’s just that people, in any camp, are fucking stupid. It doesn’t really have much rhyme or reason to it, but there it is. Not much forward thinking or consideration of the consequences takes place. In Starbucks’ original position, would it have been so hard to say to yourself “Wow, that’s surprising actually. I’ll still recommend the place to people and go there myself. Good on them,” as I did, instead of carrying it to the point of obnoxiousness, making kiddie-ass logos, and what-have-you?

    They were basically neutral. Fine! Still support them! Not everyone has to be 800% pro-gun. Now look at what a bunch of thickheaded mouth-breathers of us (I’m talking about the gun community) were created in this debacle. I’m definitely pro-gun and you can take all of mine outta my cold dead fingers, but I just have to call out such blatant stupidity when I see it.

    The main point: let’s just use our brains a bit more, people. I’ll keep my most sacred beliefs to myself, until they are seriously threatened. In this Starbucks case, that was hardly the time. Besides, otherwise, there’s a good chance you’ll look like an idiot (rightfully so).

    And hey, thanks again MAC, I enjoy the blog.


  • Lucy

    This is stupid whether guns are legal or illegal stupid, wea minded and evil people will always find a way to access them. I really don’t see the excitement of owning a gun, it’s so silly I mean does it make a Guy feel manly or a woman independent? I know its on your rights to have them,and on I’m not pro nor against I could care less really. I do agree that guns should not be carried in public places. Only by those who have been trained by the law. I know that stupidity, mental illness and evil will probably not regard any laws but why chance it. If I’m ever to own a gun I will be sure to visit a psychologist to esure the people in my house hold are mentally fit to own it. Also educate me and my family about the wonders and dangers of guns… I just don’t understand this debate, its seems so silly to me..

  • booker

    I’d like to try to compare this to another debate, LGBT rights. Personally, I am straight male. I don’t particularly like the idea of gay and lesbian couples, but the fact is that they are human, they are citizens, most are hard-working responsible people, and they have the same natural, inalienable rights that I do. To deny them those rights should be as unthinkable as denying black people the right to vote, a journalist the right to write, or me the right to own a firearm. As such, I support LGBT rights 100%, however, I don’t want it thrown in my face at every turn. Pride parades and such are great to build that community’s strength and cohesiveness, but I wouldn’t want it every day. Likewise, I can see how somebody who is okay with gun rights wouldn’t want a horde of open-carriers throwing holstered firearms in their face at the coffee shop or marching down main street with slung rifles every weekend. There is a responsibility to be socially aware, and balance one’s pride and agenda with cultural savvy.

    These are my random thoughts and I’d be interested to hear similar or opposing opinions.

    • Crandall

      Rather well said sir…

  • http://twitter.com/Wielsucker Wielsucker (@Wielsucker)

    Thanks @Starbucks for trying to remain neutral. Sorry idiots on both sides decided to fight at your place. Must be what Belgium felt like in the WWs. I promise you’ll never see mine.

  • Mark D Hansell

    Sir – Thanks for your honest analysis of the situation. While we are probably on opposite sides of a lot of issues, I always enjoy a spirited but civil debate. Thanks.

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  • http://gravatar.com/koifishcommunications Dean

    Great and rational response. I actually really appreciated the former Starbucks stance and wrote about it in my blog (see the link below). This move is another reasonable one on their part. They aren’t saying you can’t, they are saying they prefer we not (an empty gesture that should pacify the sheep).

    I think we as a community REALLY need to call the CT open carry idiots to task — the ones who planned to do something at Newtown a few months back. Could they be more damaging to the cause?


  • Lonegunman22

    Nobody is etitled to ANYTHING, period. that’s a fact of life. I rarely open carry, so if I see a sign that says NO GUNS, unless it’s a government building, or lawfully restricted area, I keep my weapon concealed and carry it anyway. I am legally allowed to carry, and therefore will. people would thank me later if some psycho with a gun does show up. I agree with MAC. We can’t successfully fight off gun-grabbers if we do things that make them point at us and say: “See? that’s why civvies shouldn’t have them.”
    And this is a little prediction of my own. We’re not going to hear the last of this issue. Those same idiots that swarmed Starbucks to begin with, are going to swarm it again.

  • Lonegunman22

    Hopefully this will help you understand. You’re in your local Wal-mart, doing your shopping, you have your kid or kids with you and a gun in your purse. (theoretically). You suddenly hear a commotion at the front of the store, and a few seconds later, you hear gunshots coming from the psycho who caused said commotion. The average time for a police officer to respond in the area that I live in for a priority 1 call is about 4 minutes
    and I live in a pretty small town. Larger towns and cities have higher wait times, because there’s more ground to cover. Now I ask of you, if a situation like this were to arise (God forbid it does) what would you rather have protecting your kids and yourself? a loaded gun in your hand, or a cell phone with a police dispatcher telling you to stay on the line and that help will be there as soon as possible? In the end, the only person responsible for your saftey is you. Not the police. That’s why I carry. I want to be able to protect myself and others around me by stopping the threat as soon as it arises, not wait for someone else to come do it while I hide in a corner like an animal praying that I’m not the next one to get shot.

  • http://gravatar.com/onibabamama Taylor

    You are a very smart guy. Couldn’t agree more with everything you wrote.

    I am not a gun owner, but was linked to this blog. I have nothing against responsible gun owners, but honestly, how I am supposed to know some stranger in Starbucks openly carrying a pistol is not a threat to me or my family? It’s absurd not to expect people to get nervous, and the open carry at the Newtown Starbucks was simply disrespectful.

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  • http://gravatar.com/conalmc invisibleAzN

    completely agree. Fucking jackasses.

  • NWGlocker

    Tim, if you write an open letter and want some of your readers / followers / fans to do a petition-type signature, let us know. I’ll sign up (with my real name).

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  • Michael A. Albert

    I agree with your article. Personally, though open carry is legal in many states as is in my state of PA and I agree with that right, I think it is a not well thought out concept or idea in this day and age. If I am a bad guy/terrorist wanting to commit a crime/terrorist act, and I walk in and see you standing there with your open carry gun, you will be the first to die!
    CC EVERYWHERE is a much better idea IMHO.
    Starbucks is a private business and as such have a right to enact policies which they deem necessary for their business. Our right to open/CC carry should not supersede that policy. Like you MAC, if I choose to go to Starbucks or any other establishment, I am perfectly happy NOT to carry open, which I do not do anyhow, should I know that is the policy of the establishment.
    However, if an establishment chooses to ban handguns completely, concealed or open, then I do not give my business to that establishment. Not rocket science here folks. LET’S ALL STOP GIVING AMMO TO OUR ENEMIES TO USE AGAINST US. WE ARE ALL SUPPOSED TO BE MATURE, ADULT, GROWNUP INDIVIDUALS, SO LET’S ACT LIKE IT!!!

  • ts184

    MAC… Truly appreciate all that you do for the gun community however Starbucks (which I’m a huge fan) did take a side… We need to respect the 2nd amendment and not make it an OC vs. CC. This is a divide and concur strategy… I think Colion Noir has a made some very valid points on this subject as well. http://youtu.be/cYnT6mjSy84 Thanks Again.. Semper Fi

    • http://www.military-arms.com MAC

      I don’t believe Starbucks has a strategy. They are trying to remove themselves from being an unwilling battleground in the debate.

      Starbucks stores are private property, you check your rights at the door. If you came into my house and insulted my wife, you would be shown the door. Your 1st Amendment rights don’t apply on private property.

      Starbucks tried to remain neutral and asked several times for both sides to leave them out of it, but we foolishly pressed the issue and forced their hand.

      Starbucks is a business and as such they exist to make money, not give us a forum to parade around with rifles on our shoulders posing for silly Facebook pics.

      If they were truly anti-gun they would have put some teeth in their new policy. As it stands it’s more of a shot over the bow than a real policy change. They don’t plan to enforce the new rule and instructed their employees to serve armed patrons.

  • Jefferson Vader

    Yup! Keep “our”..(said with a muddy mix of humor, sarcasm and truth) politicin’, “libtard”-bashin’, “thug”-hatin’, “obummer”-efigyin’, “non-conservative-people-of-color”-biggotin’ and profilin, “deafeanin-sillence-about-GHWB..POTUS43″, “MURICA-F###YEAH-ing”..constrained to our various firearm forums and other models of social and collective echo chambers.

    Going “full retard” “on tha streets”, does little to nothing of supporting, selling the everyday validity and greater public acquiesence and comfort with the exercising of the 2nd amendment right. It more than not gives the GLOBAL impression of hyper-aggressive, egomaniacal, extraverted lunacy of beer-bellied middle-aged republican poster-man-children throwing public tantrums.

    Walk softly and carry the big stick..

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  • Ted H.

    Thanks Mac for setting me straight. I was not one that went to Starbucks or their facebook page but had a jaded view of them, it was very refreshing to hear your point of view and I completely agree. I will spread the word. Thanks for all the great videos keep up the great job. Long live the republic!

  • Austin

    Excellent and decent post, i agree MAC we are our own worst enemy. I read your article and find it is very informative. I am searching about Kona coffee and after some time i found your post, it ends my search. I really appreciate you for this post. Keep it up. Thanks