Gun violence prevention organizations Newtown Action Alliance, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and National Gun Victims Action Council support the signers of an open letter published today to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz asking him to ban guns from all stores (http://newtownaction.org/open-letter-to-starbucks/): “If you make the decision to ban guns, your company has the chance to honor the 26 innocent lives lost here in Newtown and the 32,000 Americans lost annually to gun violence by becoming a leader in educating the public about firearm safety. “
The signers of the letter – who include Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Murphy, Rep. Elizabeth Esty, and several Sandy Hook Elementary School victims’ families – ask Schultz to meet to discuss Starbucks’ current policy allowing concealed and open carry of loaded weapons inside stores: “We know your company not only understands but takes pride in its responsibility to promote the growth of a safe and just society. That is why we invite you to join us for a cup of coffee at our Starbucks in Newtown so we can talk about your company’s policy and gun violence in America.”
In an article in today’s Wall Street Journal (http://on.wsj.com/16kqP16), a representative for Starbucks said, “We welcome the opportunity to meet with the Newtown family members who have signed this letter to directly discuss their concerns.” We urge Starbucks to follow through with its promise to meet with Newtown families about the company’s risky gun policy that intimidates and endangers its customers. The organizations urge Schultz to meet with the letter signers in September at the Newtown Starbucks where the threat of an armed rally forced Starbucks to close the local store two weeks ago.
Newtown Action Alliance, Moms Demand Action and National Gun Victims Action Council are also encouraging their members to send a message to Starbucks by signing and sharing a petition asking Starbucks to change its policy (http://momsdemandaction.nationbuilder.com/sb2013). Representatives from all three organizations will hand-deliver the petition to Starbucks’ Seattle headquarters once it reaches 25,000 signatures.
Although Starbucks has stated that its policy is to “comply with local laws,” it has a history of going above and beyond local laws in the interest of consumer safety. Most recently, it banned smoking outside of its stores where it would otherwise be legal to smoke. It also prohibits guns at its corporate headquarters, and does not allow its employees to carry firearms. Armed rallies are being held by gun advocates at Starbucks across the country, and customers take advantage of the company’s lax policy by openly carrying everything from handguns to semi-automatic assault rifles in its stores.