guns & businesses
12:38 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Advocates of Tougher Gun Laws Call for Starbucks Boycott

A group urging more restrictive gun laws is calling for a national boycott of Starbucks Saturday. The group is upset over Starbucks’ policy of letting customers bring firearms into stores in states that allow it. 

The day after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, Shannon Watts founded a group to advocate for tougher laws on guns. Watts says she used to go to Starbucks three times a day before she found out the company allows open carry of weapons in its stores.

Now she’s calling on people to skip their Starbucks fix for a day to send the company a message.

"They consider themselves a progressive company and have even gone so far as to ban smoking 25 feet outside their stores, regardless of state law, but the one thing they’re completely intractable on is banning guns from their stores," Watts said. "And as a result, they’ve become the flashpoint and the de facto meeting place for people with loaded weapons."

Gun owners held a Starbucks Appreciation Day earlier this month, even showing up at a Starbucks café in Newtown, Connecticut, where the school shooting took place. That store wound up closing early.

Some family members of victims of last December's shooting are asking Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz to meet with them at the Starbucks cafe in Newtown.

"We welcome the opportunity to meet with the Newtown family members who have signed this letter to discuss their concerns," Starbucks spokesman Zack Hutson wrote in an email. He declined to say whether Schultz would take them up on their offer to meet at the Starbucks in Newtown. 

The company says its policy is to comply with local laws, and that  gun violence is a serious issue that elected officials should address. But Starbucks doesn’t allow its employees to carry weapons, either at its headquarters or in any of its stores.