Whatever the scope of the Second Amendment may be after the Supreme Court’s decision in DC v. Heller, it unambiguously does not apply to private businesses. Nevertheless, Starbucks has been caught up in a two year fight over its permissive guns policy ever since gun advocates started meeting — with their firearms openly displayed — in California Starbuckses two years ago.
Starting today, gun reform advocates are renewing their push for Starbucks to change its policy. The National Gun Victim’s Action Council (NGAC) announced a Starbucks boycott until the company prevents customers from openly carrying guns in their coffee shops. “Starbucks allowing guns to be carried in thousands of their stores significantly increases everyone’s risk of being a victim of gun violence,” said Elliot Fineman, the council’s CEO. The Fellowship of Reconciliation posted an open letter to Starbucks asking the corporation to change its policy for the sake of public safety:
Today, we ask you to take the next logical step in corporate responsibility and leadership. Join Disney, IKEA, Peets, California Pizza Kitchen, and other chains to ban handguns and other firearms in your stores. It is…a matter of providing an inclusive, supportive, and safe work environment, not only for your partners but also your customers. Now that you have made the corporate decision to sell beer and wine in your stores, the issue of public safety is heightened: guns and alcohol do not mix.
The Firearms Council countered with its own petition, calling on its supporters to thank Starbucks for “recognizing the importance of choice.”
But public support and data are on the side of the gun reform advocates. In 2010, 56 percent of people surveyed said they favored Starbucks and other businesses having strict anti-gun policies. In California, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office warned that it is not recommended to openly carry a gun because police officers cannot quickly distinguish between an armed person who is a danger to others and “people are simply ‘exercising their rights.’” And a study in 2000 found that there is no evidence that “permissive gun carry laws” would deter criminals. “Until proven otherwise, the best science indicates that more guns will lead to more deaths,” the researchers wrote.