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Boycott war brewing on the grounds of Starbucks gun policy

By Kim Murphy

Los Angeles Times


SEATTLE >>Those who prefer to drink their lattes packing protection on their hip turned out at Starbucks across the country, including Hawaii, on the first day of a “buycott” organized by gun owners — countering the Starbucks boycott called this month by the National Gun Victims Action Council.

The issue of Starbucks allowing gun owners to openly carry their weapons in states that have “open carry” laws has been simmering for years. The new boycott, which launched Tuesday, aims at persuading Starbucks to join a growing list of retail chains, including Peet’s Coffee, California Pizza Kitchen and IKEA, which prohibit guns even when they’re otherwise legal.

“Starbucks allowing guns to be carried in thousands of their stores significantly increases everyone’s risk of being a victim of gun violence,” Elliot Fineman, head of the Chicago-based council, said in a news release announcing the boycott.

Most of the visible action Tuesday seemed to be on the buycott side of things, though, as gun groups across the country urged their members to show up at Starbucks — not necessarily with their weapons — and spend.

Joe Huffman, a Seattle software engineer who writes a gun blog based in his native Idaho, reported that he and his friends spent $131.64 at the Starbucks in Seattle’s main shopping district Tuesday.

“I wasn’t carrying a gun. I did have a jacket on that had an (National Rifle Association) life member patch,” Huffman said. “I wanted to demonstrate that even though they’re under a lot of pressure, we’re very appreciative of them standing up against those people.”

Similar “Starbucks Appreciation Day” demonstrations were reported in several states, including Hawaii, Tennessee, and Michigan, as well as in several suburban communities around Seattle, where Starbucks is headquartered.

In Columbus, Ohio, students promoting the right to carry guns at Ohio State University protested outside a Starbucks, carrying signs with such slogans as, “Because I CAN’T carry a cop,” the Lantern student newspaper reported.

“I threw out the idea of a Starbucks appreciation day on my online forum, and God Almighty, it caught fire,” Dave Workman, editor of the Gun Mag, based in Bellevue, Wash., said in an interview.

“These guys want Starbucks to act as their surrogate, to push this social bigotry against gun owners, and I think the gun owners have responded rather well,” Workman said. “The gun guys are willing to put their money where their mouth is, while the anti-gun guys are trying to take money away from Starbucks.”

In a statement, Starbucks reiterated that its policy is to comply with the law in the communities where its stores are located.

In a statement on its website — placed there in 2010 when the Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence launched a petition campaign targeting the chain — Starbucks said its policy was to follow existing state laws where its stores operate.

And in a statement released Wednesday, the company said, “We are extremely sensitive to the issue of gun violence in our society and believe that supporting local laws is the right way for us to ensure a safe environment for both our partners (employees) and customers.”

The Brady campaign’s legislation director, Brian Malte, said that the group is continuing with its public pressure campaign, although it is not participating in the boycott.

“We still feel there’s time for Starbucks to make the right decision to protect their employees and customers,” Malte said.

But Fineman, head of the National Gun Victims Action Council, said boycott advocates made the decision that it was time to step up the pressure. He said the coalition includes about 50 secular anti-gun organizations, faith groups and private citizens touched by gun violence, whose numbers, through a complicated formula, he puts at 14 million.

Fineman became active in gun control causes after his son was shot and killed in a San Diego restaurant in 2006 by a mentally ill man wielding a legally purchased handgun.

“We’re not going to let people just say, ’This isn’t our issue, it’s a political issue.’ Because there’s no way that the current forces on our side can combat the NRA. They’re just too big. They have an enormous amount of money and people, and they throw their weight around in a pretty big fashion,” Fineman said in an interview.

“But who has more money than them? Corporate America. So the point is to get corporate America to do what we can’t do.”

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WooWoo wrote:
I can understand why someone w
on February 18,2012 | 04:18PM
Kapakahi wrote:


I agree with you!

I disagree with the "right-to-carry" laws. I think they are dumb, dumb, dumb, arising out of the NRA's need to raise money, keep their members outraged and pretend they are persecuted. But I think Starbucks should resist this boycott. Why should Starbucks be expected to ban guns from its stores? Where is the logic? Are people being shot in cafes? Is there an obvious link between drinking coffee and getting into fights resulting in gun violence? No?

Having said that, I do believe bar owners should ban guns from their bars. Heck, they were smart enough to recognize the liquor and guns don't mix in the Old West, when "men were men." Surely we can see it is a dumb idea to let people carry guns while drinking.? And I think schools and universities should ban guns on campus as well, except for their own security forces.

But coffee bars? Give me a break.

on February 19,2012 | 09:37AM
Anonymous wrote:
Remind me again how many of the millions of daily customers at Starbucks have been shot by law abiding legal firearm carrying citizens in the last five years...
on February 18,2012 | 04:28PM
johncdechon wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on February 19,2012 | 08:18AM
Kokoy wrote:
amen brother
on February 19,2012 | 10:48AM
hawaiikone wrote:
The alarming amount of gun related incidents at or in many Starbucks seems to be yet another reason to allow citizens to arm themselves.
on February 19,2012 | 01:39PM
tobyclairmont wrote:
I have a gun and I drink at Starbucks - I did so TWICE today in support of this cause and I will continue to do so as long as they resist those dark forces who forget that the rights of gun owners must also be considered. It's a constitutional right my family and I will exercise. There are millions of guns in legal hands. A few of those owners have a screw loose however the vast majority of us will only use our firearms in the defense of our families. Why should the actions of the few dictate how the rest of us must behave? Our police are excellent however they will not be in my home or respond fast enough if a home invasion occurs that threatens the safety of my family. I will stand in defense and use deadly force if need be.
on February 18,2012 | 04:59PM
Kokoy wrote:
You drank coffee at Starbucks, in Hawaii carrying a gun? Lucky you having that concealed permit to carry, wish i could get one.
on February 19,2012 | 10:49AM
Changalang wrote:
Guns don't kill people; coffee kills people? Strong logic.
on February 18,2012 | 05:09PM
stingray65 wrote:
Changalang, if Guns don't kill people, does cars, vehicles kill people? That is another most logic. Why does cars still runs all over the place.. yesterday, an off duty police officer, a SGT. run over the pedestrian. Confiscate his vehicle too? Here in Hawaii, only people carry firearms are, Police Officer, Security Officers, Military, and drug dealers.. How about the good citizen? What are we? Just a Target? Anyone break in my home, he does not deserve to live.. PERIOD!!
on February 19,2012 | 11:03AM
Carang_da_buggahz wrote:
When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. Yeah, what we need are more gun laws. Rrrrright! The Anit-Gun nuts naiveté just floors me. No one ever accused them of having intelligence.
on February 18,2012 | 06:18PM
johncdechon wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on February 19,2012 | 08:20AM
hawaiikone wrote:
Not sure if you want the commenter to arm himself or not. He seems opposed to more gun laws, which is certainly appropriate.
on February 19,2012 | 10:05AM
johncdechon wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on February 19,2012 | 02:34PM
User 5 wrote:
Three of your comments on "Arizona sheriff says he's gay after misconduct claims" and "Law aimed at bullying in schools poses threat to freedom of speech" have been deleted for bigoted content. Further transgressions will result in a suspension of your commenting privileges.
on February 20,2012 | 02:23AM
Halemaumau wrote:
Criminals don't abide by the laws, it doesn't make sense to create more laws prohibiting us from protecting ourselves with firearms. "All political power comes from the barrel of a gun. The Communist Party must command all guns, that way, no guns can ever be used to command the party" -Mao Tse Tung And the current Presidential administration and anti-gun advocates wants to strip the 2nd Amendment from the Constitution. Disarmed people are neither free nor safe.
on February 19,2012 | 10:37AM
hawaiikone wrote:
Well said.
on February 19,2012 | 01:41PM
saveparadise wrote:
Why don't these people direct their energy toward capturing and incarcerating real criminals? There is absolutely nothing wrong with law abiding citizens ready to defend themselves.
on February 19,2012 | 12:54AM
edster48 wrote:
The anti-gun nuts will never get it, you can't put the genie back in the bottle. Firearms are here to stay, you cannot legislate them out of existance. The gun laws we already have are more than sufficient, we need to actually ENFORCE them. Further, we need to stop releasing "career criminals" back into society, you know, the guys we read about AFTER they have commited some type of gun crime. Only then do we find out that they had 89 prior convictions [ only 30% of which were for violent crimes]. But gee whillikers folks! Don't they deserve just one more chance? We just didn't see this one a comin'! Will the police protect us, no, it's not their job, they just show up after the crime is commited and investigate, only to see their work undone by the courts. Me? I think I'll just keep my guns and protect my family. Good job Starbucks.
on February 19,2012 | 08:50AM
CC_in_VA wrote:
My deep sympathy goes out to the man whose son was killed by a deranged gunman, but he's being governed by his emotions instead of by rational thought. A "No Guns Allowed" sign will NOT stop a madman or a criminal. Instead it actually acts as an INVITATION to them, because it holds out the guarantee that they will meet with no resistance on those premises from members of the law-abiding public. Time and time again, private citizens with legally carried guns have stopped would-be killers, thieves or kidnappers from carrying out their crazed and evil plans. If anyone doubts, just read the careful, nationwide statistical analyses in the book "More Guns, Less Crime" that prove this point over and over again. By the way, the organizers of the buy-in at Starbucks suggested going to a bank and getting a supply of $2 bills with which to pay -- to reinforce the fact that the Second Amendment to the U.S Constitution is still in effect. While I don't care for Starbucks coffee and did not participate in the "buycott" I do think this is a great idea and commend it to all rational supporters of liberty.
on February 19,2012 | 10:23AM
niimi wrote:
I feel much safer in stores where registered gun owners are present. Think about it. If only criminal types carry their illegal guns around, then there would be no one in the public at large who could offer any alternative form of protection. What is the contract-hired security person going to do when even he doesn't have a firearm in a store. Try to "reason" with the illegal firearm-possessing perpetrator? And I'm a blue guy in a blue state saying this. I've never been an NRA member. I've never owned a firearm. But gun ownership rights are are plain as a clear blue sky to me.
on February 19,2012 | 10:47AM
stingray65 wrote:
niimi, I have a conceal to carry. Not from state of Hawaii. In the event that your life is on line. I have to right to protect you.. even if I have to use my firearms with of course deadly force to intervene. I will be keeping my guns and that is my rights..
on February 19,2012 | 11:15AM
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