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Updated on December 13, 2013
Gun advocacy groups have been meeting at Starbucks across the Sunshine state with unconcealed weapons in tow. As you can imagine, gun control groups are fuming. So much so, they’ve started petitioning Starbucks to ban guns inside shops altogether.
Yesterday, Starbucks released an official statement about the mess that basically said they will allow open carry if the state allows it. “The political, policy and legal debates around these issues belong in the legislatures and courts, not in our stores,” it said.
Considering that 43 out of 50 states are open carry states, that means only a handful of Starbucks will be open-carry free.
“Starbucks is a special target because it’s from the hippie West Coast, and a lot of dedicated consumers who pay $4 for coffee have expectations that Starbucks would ban guns. And here they aren’t,” John Bruce, a political science professor and gun policy expert, told The Associated Press.
In this KTVU report (below) from late last year, it shows an open carry rights group meeting at a Starbucks, and its other patrons didn’t seem to notice or care. The news reporter even films a police officer sitting at a stoplight next to the group, and the officer doesn’t seem to see the weapons (maybe because he’s in a car sitting who-knows-how-many feet away!).
So, why do people care now?
Most likely it’s because the mainstream media decided to pick up on the story. The aforementioned AP article ran in The New York Times earlier this week with the headline “Taking the 2nd Amendment Out for a Soy Latte.”
The Christian Science Monitor also published an article and a photo essay about the gun rights debate chronicling the Starbucks situation. Even more interesting, The Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog quotes a police memo that shows law enforcement officers aren’t exactly thrilled by the open carry movement.
Would you openly display your firearm at Starbucks or any other coffee shop for that matter (obviously if your state allowed for it)? Or do you think gun right activists have taken this too far?