Lawyers, Guns, and Coffee

Does Yosemite Sam enjoy the occasional shot of espresso? Perhaps, but as Starbucks recently learned fans of the Second Amendment sure do. The brewer of brown beverages found itself in the throes of a nationwide debate centered not on caffeine, but gun rights.

After California Pizza Kitchen and Peet’s Coffee & Tea put a policy in place preventing people from packing heat on their hip when in stores, a gathering of gun-toting citizens were forced to find a new place to frequent—so they sauntered to Starbucks.

Legally, they’re allowed to lug their heavy metal in any of the 43 states which protect the principle; of course businesses bear the right to prohibit people from entering their establishment when wearing weapons—which represents the firepower behind the fracas.

Starbucks is staying centered, ignoring both the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence’s pleas to ban artillery at the bistro and OpenCarry.org’s overture calling for its 28,000 members to caffeinate there in a show of support.

Standing behind a belief that gun-control debate belongs in the legislatures and courts, Starbucks suggests adopting a policy of prohibition in states where it’s legal to roam with a revolver would place its employees in the untenable position of pushing law abiding customers out of stores—an unfair and potentially unsafe position.

As we stand atop our virtual soapbox during these blog sessions, our solution usually starts with a simple adage: ask your customer. But is that a decaffeinated cup of caution in this case? Both sides sport ammunition in the form of numbers, so who does Starbucks select as a sounding board?

Ordering an opinion from Regular Joe is still justified. It’s the average customer (the many, many more who mind the middle of the argument) who matter most; uncovering their passion, or perhaps utter lack thereof, may provide a made-to-order PR solution. After all, finding an answer doesn’t have to be as difficult as dictating an order for a half double decaffeinated half-caf, with a shot of caramel.

As you pull the trigger on the weekend make sure to get your fill of fun, but don’t forget to set those clocks accordingly on Sunday!