Question of the Day: Should Starbucks Allow Baristas to Carry?

“Starbucks spokeswoman Jamie Riley defended the company’s gun policy, arguing that it should be up to legislators — not Starbucks — to decide what restrictions, if any, are necessary on gun possession,” reports. “Gun control advocates are quick to point out that Starbucks does not allow its employees to carry guns and wonder why there’s a discrepancy between workers and customers.” And now I’m wondering too. If Starbucks respects local firearms regulations rather than banning guns from its stores (as it has every right to do) why should it restrict its employees’ right to keep and bear arms in their own defense? FYI click here and here and here and here (etc.) for news reports of armed robberies at Starbucks stores.


  1. avatar ST says:

    The answer is one word:liability.Starbucks isn’t liable for a wrongful death suit if a customer drops a scumbag.That’s not the case for their employees.From a cost benefit aspect,it’s cheaper for the company to wash the dead employees blood off the floor then to pay a liability settlement to the scunbags survivors.

    1. avatar JaredFromTampa says:

      So for example, if someone attempts to rob a 7-11 and gets a face full of buckshot from the cashier or owner, the robber’s family can sue 7-11 or the owner? What do the lawyers among us say? Is there some implied liability on the part of the owner/operator for the actions of a person defending their life? That seems counter intuitive…but nothing surprises me anymore. Would Starbucks somehow be treated differently because it has deep pockets?

      1. avatar Sertorius says:

        There is automatic legal liability for owners/employers for the acts of their employees “in the course and scope of their employment.” This doctrine is called respondeat superior in the law.

        And yes, this doctrine means Starbucks would almost certainly be liable in the case of a bad shoot by an armed employee.

        1. avatar JaredFromTampa says:

          But it would have to be a bad shoot then right? A justifiable defensive gun use would be thrown out of court? I apologize for my ignorance of the law…

        2. avatar pwrserge says:

          Jared, you are correct, it would need to be a bad shoot. That being said, given the kangaroo courts of public opinion handling civil liability these days… Do you really think Starbucks will take that risk?

        3. avatar great unknown says:

          The last few words are critical. Collateral damage would cost the company a fortune.

          However, even absent that, there is nothing preventing a suit even in the face of unquestionable justified self-defense. And the cost of defending against such a suit can also be astronomical. So, a quick, quiet settlement, the insurance company loses a fortune, and a barista survives. Not the optimal outcome for the insurance company, which has no liability for a dead employee.

        4. avatar JaredFromTampa says:

          Thanks for the knowledge…and wow, the world is a crazy place when responsible law abiding parties are punished for the actions of the irresponsible and criminal.

          Being somewhat acquainted with corporate America, I’d assume Starbucks would settle…and fire the poor barista.

        5. avatar freakshowSMVM says:

          Great unknown,If it is a good shoot they are protected in most states from a civil suit.

        6. avatar great unknown says:

          “If it is a good shoot they are protected in most states from a civil suit.”

          That’s the shooter. A “good” [in the skill sense, not the ethical sense] lawyer can still get at the employer.

        7. avatar IdahoPete says:

          So the answer for the Starbucks employee who wants to be able to defend themselves is:

          Have a CWL carry gun that is not noticeable by other employees.
          Keep your mouth shut about the fact that you carry at work.
          Get a carry-permit legal liability policy from NRA (about $300/yr) to cover your own legal costs (you are a member, right?).
          Let Starbucks fire you for protecting your own life (beats being dead).
          Watch and enjoy while the lawyers go after Starbucks because that is where the big money will be. If you live in a “stand your ground” state the lawyer/jackals will likely decide it isn’t worth going after you when Starbucks is a much juicier target.

          Or, don’t work at Starbucks.

    2. avatar Tom says:

      The liability lawsuits are what SYG laws protect from.

  2. avatar Hal says:

    Should they? Absolutely. Will they? Not a f*cking chance.

  3. avatar Jan Pierce says:

    The contradiction is not unusual. Look at Cabela’s and Gander Mountain (and maybe other big box retailers). This is the kind of thing that usually gets foisted upon the company by its insurance company.

  4. avatar Rokurota says:

    Concealed carry. No one needs to know until the [email protected]&t goes down. At that point, I’m sure a barista would rather be fired than lit up.

    1. avatar NYC2AZ says:

      ^^^^ This is the attitude I took with many of my former employers.

      1. avatar Kelly in GA says:

        Agreed. Store manager knew. He was a fan. And the store had been robbed before, twice. There was also armed security in the store. One of them knew. We actually had an armed response plan.

        Then I got a real job in May of 2010. In September, the Sunday night of Labor day weekend, the guy I trained as my replacement as night closing cashier, led a group of gang bangers in the back of the store. They hid on the coolers and jumped the security guard, the night manager, and the friend security guard. My friend was executed while bound in the fucking cooler. Worst part, the then 19 year old trigger man was a CONVICTED FELON.

        So corporate policies can KISS MY ASS! If I feel the need, I will carry. Job be damned.

    2. avatar sindaan says:

      Word to that shit. Fire me if you must. I’ll be alive and not giving a shit about losing a job making coffee for pretentious assholes.

      Disclaimer: I go to Startbucks and Im the finest pretentious asshole you’ll ever have the pleasure of meeting.

  5. avatar Ben says:

    Yes. (Of course) Next question…

  6. avatar Ralph says:

    Carry? I don’t think that Starbucks should allow them to make coffee.

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      LOL. They don’t. That’s what the buttons on the machines are for.

    2. avatar Semper Why says:

      Starbucks doesn’t sell coffee. They sell hot milk with coffee added to it.

  7. avatar jwm says:

    What happened to the post about American troops packing AKs?

    1. avatar Jake says:

      Good question.

      Inquiring minds, etc

  8. avatar Colby says:

    The answer is yes.

    Next question please.

  9. avatar 2Wheels says:

    Most businesses should allow their employees to carry. Will they? Heck no, especially the big name corporate ones.

  10. avatar (Formerly) MN Matt says:

    Oh, good grief. Leave Starbucks alone. Not a single employer (short of a gun store) will ever let their employees cary. The lawyers have seen to that.

    1. avatar Colby says:

      I was an associate at a law firm a couple years ago that had an express policy allowing anyone with a CHL to carry.

  11. avatar Ardent says:

    Perhaps what we need is (oh god I’m going to say it) legislation. Legislation that forces employers to bear the liability for their employees safety either by allowing those who may otherwise do so legally to carry concealed or else by providing armed security.

    In many businesses a concealed carrying employee will be the logical choice as the extra cost is minuscule in terms of liability insurance, (It really is, check it out). Those that don’t want the extra cost in insurance (We’re talking pennies here) can hire armed guards and let the company which employs them carry the insurance burden (all $100 per year or less per employee of it).

    Of course then business would lobby for tort reform in the form of if the plaintiff was committing a felony at the time of injury they are not entitled to civil relief.

    Holly crap it’s a win win for everyone but the bad guys, and they they don’t get a vote (no really, many of them don’t).

    1. avatar Avid Reader says:

      Well, they don’t get a vote unless they’re in Chicago, where they may not be aware they’re casting it…

  12. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    I am still working on a more complete explanation of this sort of thing. However, since Mr. Farago broached the subject, I have to respond.

    We get into trouble when we debate “rights” and laws in a vacuum. That mindset is incredibly pervasive unfortunately and leads many people to believe that rights and laws are an end in and of themselves. As a result, discussions of rights and laws always spiral out of control into a giant shouting match where “might makes right”.

    Too many people fail to understand the purpose of “rights” and laws. Their purpose is to uphold the dignity, the sanctity, the inherent value of human life simply because we are human. Why is it a crime to steal from, assault, rape, or murder someone? Because those actions deny the sanctity of the human life of the victim. The attacker’s actions state by their very nature that the victim is an object to be manipulated, used, consumed, controlled, and exploited at the pleasure of the attacker.

    Basically, any time a person (aggressor) denies the sanctity or dignity of another person (victim), that is wrong, a crime. That is why we state that “free speech” is a right. Because any person who would tell me to shut up has insulted my dignity and denied my inherent value as a fellow human. They are acting as a tyrant over me. And perhaps most importantly, it is a crime to deny the sanctity or dignity of a person no matter where they happen to be standing.

    Now on to the whole employment and private property thing. Imagine that I am an employee or invited guest onto private property. Objects that I carry on my person do not insult the dignity or deny the inherent value of the employer or private property owner … or any other employees, patrons, or invited guests either for that matter. It doesn’t matter whether an object is a money clip, cell phone, or a handgun. However, when an employer or private property owner dictates what objects I can carry on my person, they have insulted my dignity and denied my inherent value as a human being. They are a tyrant telling me what personal objects I can possess.

    As for the people who try to claim that an employer or private property owner can do anything they want on their property, I am going to tell you flat out that you are wrong. Assault, rape, and murder laws apply at businesses and private property. And the answer is simple: because our inherent dignity as human beings does not cease to exist when we step foot into a business or onto private property. Unfortunately, or justice system has lost sight of this fact when it comes to firearms.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      By the way my explanation above demonstrates why Starbucks should have no say whether or not employees arm themselves.

    2. avatar JaredFromTampa says:

      Well said.

    3. avatar Ardent says:

      Nicely said US, cogent and eloquent. I like the direction and the style.

    4. avatar Glenn in Oklahoma says:

      Very well put.

    5. avatar utdmatt says:

      And that one’s going in the save file.

  13. avatar jim says:

    Hmmmm…. where I became a serious believer in the notion of the libstream media (and I’ve been a bylined journalist for most of my life) was back when the Sunday Houston Chronicle was worth the money, and good for a couple of hours of thought. The Op-Ed section of der Kronk (one of my great scores was referring to the Chronicle building as Der Kronkenbunker in a comment at a dear friend’s blog) used to have a back page that had a variety of opinions, which that week included Michelle Maklin, who frankly I consider a fruitcake. But she wrote about the NRA boycott of McDonald’s, which was rooted in the firing of a McDonald’s manager at the store at Lockwood and I-10 in Houston’s Fifth Ward. Which is where I live. Dude had a concealed-carry license and had been robbed several times. So he violated company policy, and wound up shooting it out with a robber. (Foiled the robbery, BTW, without any collateral damage.) And got fired. This was a ten-minute walk from where I live, and I had not read a word about it, until Michelle wrote about the boycott. No matter your view on guns, it was news, and it was buried. Really made me wonder how many totally legal no-fatality DGUs get “lost” in the editorial shuffle.

    That said, I have real issues with tweakers with guns, and not sure I would want a pierced and tattooed barrista with seven double expressos raging through his system and packing a Glock getting frantic while I figured out which $5 dose of caffeine I wanted.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      I have real issues with “journalists” telling me what they’re afraid of.

      1. avatar jim says:

        Joke, Ralph. Mostly I wrote about music, food and local politics. The last from a gonzo point of view, making fun of nincompoops from both parties who went into politics because they couldn’t find a day job. After trying to toss the editor of a pseudo-alternative weekly out of a 19th floor window years ago (if he was as smart as he thought was, he would have figured out how to fly before he hit the ground) I’m lucky to do a few book reviews a year.

        And it was a great day when the editor of a seriously independent (and rabidly liberal) weekly referred to me in print as “our token gun-nut neo-Goldwaterite.”

        1. avatar Ralph says:

          trying to toss the editor of a pseudo-alternative weekly out of a 19th floor window

          Well, now I’m beginning to like you.

  14. avatar Thomas Jane says:

    One of these 2 could have been Obama 35 years ago.

  15. avatar Rick says:

    “Starbucks spokeswoman Jamie Riley defended the company’s gun policy, arguing that it should be up to legislators — not Starbucks — to decide what restrictions, if any, are necessary on gun possession,”

    How about, just for the sheer novelty of it, letting the customers decide?

    1. avatar Accur81 says:

      How about letting the Constitution decide?

      1. avatar great unknown says:

        The Constitution, to the extent that it still protects private property*, protects the rights of the property owner to control the activities in, and entry permissions to, his/her property. Including banning carry.

        *the only real privacy protected by the “Constitution” these days is the “right” to abortion. Not protection against search and seizure, not privacy of communication, not protection from takings for the sake of government profit and corruption. And now that AT&T has purchased Nokia, if you own a Nokia phone, you have multiple chances of your communications being tapped. Good times…

    2. avatar Russ Bixby says:

      Customers don’t decide on restrictions. Hey decide how to behave within he framework of whatever restrictions are extant.

      As the Constitution imposes no restrictions, then legislators must – if there to by any.

      Personally, I’d never take a Mosin with affixed bayonet into a Starbucks; there’s just not enough room. Same with any other artillery piece. 😉

      Then again, thats my lookout.

      While I don’t really approve of carry limitations – if you can carry it, you may do so — at least by my lights. My feelings about ownership are more complex, and are on record elsewhere on TTAG.

      Still, their statement about restrictions being a matter for legislators is absolutely correct.

      Except for the Founders and Framers; apparently those legislators have no say.

      On a related subject: I suggest we stop framing our arguments as an effort to retain our rights. We need to go for the throat against all of our enemies of lousy character.

      “Ms. Feinstein, why do you feel only you deserve to carry a gun?”

      “Mr. Clinton, do you support gun control because as an accused rapist you wish to protect other rapists?”

      I’d also suggest that we focus on the courtroom, on the jury.

      With their oft-restated and court-maintained lack of any duty to protect any individual, the State has abrogated the contract under which we the citizenry owe it any fealty, per Locke and Jefferson.

      Every defense attorney in every case of DGU with an illegal firearm (or possession of same for defensive purpose by otherwise non-criminals) needs to make this point: the citizenry is under no obligation to cede their defense to a state which denies any obligation to defend individual citizens.

      In every case in which 911 failed to work as advertised — even those when the police literally never showed — the courts have held the State blameless and responsible only for general protection of the populace.

      Jury nullification of a law works, and will continue to work unless “they” eliminate juries.

      We need to go for the throat, with respect shown only to our opponents who do not carry or have armed guards.

      We need to nail the hypocrites to the wall at every opportunity, for only their hypocrisy. Their stupidity and ignorance must be addressed by logic and fact, but we must play the H¡tler card and launch emotional attacks ginst double standards and those who embrace them.

      We can no longer afford to cling to decorum. The gloves must come off.

  16. avatar Al Cohol says:

    Wow, never did I think Modesto would make it to TTAG. Not surprising though since its become quite the shit hole. Glad our county issues CCW permits and I am glad I have one. This area is meth and heroine infested. Fortunately, I don’t live in Modesto, but in the nice country side outside of it. Just not far enough from it, unfortunately…

  17. avatar In Memphis says:

    I think its great that Starbucks has maintained neutrality with the whole carry thing but I dont see why we are holding then on a pedastal now. Has anyone thought to do that with WalMart? I dont hear any praise about them yet I OC in there frequently with no trouble.

    Im not trying to be an @&&. I just dont think it would be wise to push it to much. Like the OC demonstration outside Starbucks that was subject of an article. Im just afraid if we push too much that we will push them to the other side. They didnt come out and say, “we love guns so haters FOAD!” They are neutral. So using then as a tool to smite Mothers Not Getting Action, could bite us in the @&&.

    Just my opinion.

    1. avatar In Memphis says:

      And of course it shows up when and where it should have but after my later posts lol

  18. avatar In Memphis says:

    Why does every single one of my well thought out comments not post but my typical sarcastic BS comments do!? I wonder if this gripe will.

    1. avatar In Memphis says:

      [email protected]! Really guys!? This made it but my occasional shred of inteligence didnt? Why do you punish me so harshly!?

  19. avatar Russ Bixby says:

    Their attitude is quite sensible.

    They’d rather lose their money than have an employee take risks defending it.

    A gang rape or drawn-out hostage situation in a building that’s mostly glass is vanishingly unlikely; armed baddies grab the cash and dash.

    An employee needs worry less about a jumpy robber plugging ’em if the robber knows ’em to be unarmed.

    Further, not just robbers are in the line of fire from behind a counter.

    It’s business, it’s their right and it’s sense.

  20. avatar Bob O says:

    I don’t carry at work, per se, every day, because I work in a BIG building. But days that I work late, and catch the bus, I have and will pack at work. Hate to get robbed and executed while leaving work late night. But, I do carry a tactical knife and pepper spray EVERYDAY at work. Better than nothing. Ideally, I’d love to have my 9mm on my hip, I just worry about it accidentally becoming exposed if my shirt comes up, etc. Might just buy a pocket gun and pack everyday.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email