A grande issue

Can we rely on businesses to change gun culture?

by Aditi Pradeep

The next time you order that tall caramel mocha, you should also hold a gun, according
to Starbucks.

The coffee giant’s CEO Howard Schultz recently made a statement, not explicitly banning guns, but asking customers to leave guns at home. However, store employees will still serve customers if they see a firearm. 

Starbucks made the statement not out of an anti-gun mentality, but to remain politically neutral. Pro-gun activists used Starbucks’ open-gun policy as a platform for protesting gun control initiatives, even holding a “Starbucks Appreciation Day.”

Gun rights supporters misleadingly associated Starbucks with open-carry firearm policies, Schultz said in open letter to be published as an ad in major newspapers.

Starbucks is not the first company to assess its policy on guns on private property. Several companies have gone further with explicit rules banning guns on their premises. Whole Foods, Buffalo Wild Wings, California Pizza Kitchen and Walt Disney World all have policies that limit carrying guns on
their property.

In a country ravaged by infamous acts of gun violence, any progress in firearm policies can change gun culture. After each publicized shooting, the gun control debate is thrust into the limelight, but legislative action isn’t taken. If the public sector can’t — or simply won’t — act, it appears the private sector is taking the responsibility for some
of the change.

Schultz went on to say that Starbucks isn’t out to make policy, but he explicitly stated it to be assessing the issue of open-carry firearm laws.

It’s important to realize that Schultz was trying to refocus the Starbucks brand. While genuine feelings may have also motivated the anti-gun response, money
fueled the change.

It’s noteworthy, however, that corporations are taking gun policies into their own hands. At least recently, this is more than we can say for the federal government. The gun control debate is a complex topic that requires a complex solution, but with each tragic shooting, we realize that the problem isn’t going
away by itself.