Yes, I’m blogging this post from Starbucks. And yes, that’s a cream cheese pumpkin muffin in front of an old fat white guy—who’s packing heat. I realize that more than a few members of our Armed Intelligentsia have vowed never to darken the door of a Starbucks until and unless the Seattle coffee chain rescinds its “request” that customers refrain from bringing guns to their stores. But I’m not amongst them . . .
I have a natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. I exercise that right wherever I am legally allowed to do so, for two reasons.
First, a firearm gives me the ability to defend myself and my loved ones. Second, exercising that right protects it. If Americans don’t bear arms, the right to carry would degrade and (I’m convinced) disappear. I value my right, so I carry. In Starbucks. ‘Cause I can.
Yes we can! At this point in Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz’ evolution from apolitical coffee purveyor to chattering class hero, it’s still legal to carry a firearm in a Starbucks store—provided it’s not legally prohibited by local or state law. The open letter posted on Starbucks’ website made it quite clear that the CEO’s gun ban was a “request” not a legal edict.
To legally ban guns from its premises here in the Lone Star State, Starbucks must post a written notification that firearms are not allowed. According to the relevant statute the sign must take the form of . . .
a card or other document on which is written language identical to the following: “Pursuant to Section 30.06, Penal Code (trespass by holder of license to carry a concealed handgun), a person licensed under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code (concealed handgun law), may not enter this property with a concealed handgun”; or
(B) a sign posted on the property that:
(i) includes the language described by Paragraph (A) in both English and Spanish;
(ii) appears in contrasting colors with block letters at least one inch in height; and
(iii) is displayed in a conspicuous manner clearly visible to the public.
As you can see from the photo above, no such sign is in place. Until such time as it is, well, here I am. Now, what about the politics of the thing? How can a pro-gun guy justify putting money into the pocket of a company whose CEO has a newfound love for anti-gun agitprop?
In terms of defending or extending gun rights, boycotting Starbucks achieves nothing. Politically active People of the Gun constitute a small portion of Starbucks’ customer base; withholding their custom won’t “force” the company to reconsider its anti-gun “recommendation.” And if the POTG withdraw their cash from Starbucks they lose their ability to influence both Starbucks (by our example) and a wider audience.
‘Starbucks ban? Oh that’s not legal. I carry there anyway.’ That simple statement carries weight with someone considering concealed carry. ‘Starbucks? Fvck ’em!’ does not. And if we’re talking politics rather than mutual masturbation, the fence sitters are more important than our armed compatriots.
I’m an absolutist when it comes to gun rights. But I’m with Todd Vandermyde: you gotta play real politik baby.
Should open carry advocates take this as a blank check to stage another “Starbucks’ Appreciation Day”? It remains legal. Nope. That would be, as it has been, counter-productive. (Schultz specifically derides these demos in his open letter.) Anyway, there’s another potential benefit to carrying concealed at a Starbucks: a defensive gun use.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not like the antis, wishing for a violent attack to exploit and further my agenda. But as I wrote in an editorial for USA Today yesterday (click here to read), armed robbers know that a Starbucks store is a cash-laden enterprise. And so they bring their weapons inside—no matter what Mr Schultz has to say about it. (Click here for a story on the Washington-area Starbucks triple homicide.)
If a legally armed American’s defensive gun use protects Starbucks’ customers that event would have a lot more impact on their recently anti-gun CEO than a hundred thousand gun owner no-shows. Or at least it should.
I reckon concealed carry or why not individual open carry (of a handgun please) at Starbucks makes sense on both a personal defense and a defense of gun rights level. Still.
That’s my story and I’m sticking with it. The fact that the opposite view from the picture at the top of this post is often stunning has nothing to do with it. And the pumpkin cream cheese muffin sucked. Every last bite.