Guns and Starbucks

This past Friday, quite a few pro-gun types celebrated “Starbucks Appreciation Day” by open carrying in their local Starbucks. This is because of Starbuck’s official corporate policy on carrying guns in their stores is “if it’s legal, knock yourself out.” They’re neither pro-gun nor anti-gun, but rather “pro-money.” I did not go to Starbucks on Friday, not because I don’t appreciate them but because the Starbucks is further away than the better, local coffee shop that’s right downtown. But that’s neither here nor there, because the real issue that I want to look is whether or not it’s time to knock this Starbucks stuff off.

I’m not alone in this opinion – smart guy Sebastian at PA Gun Blog had this to say:

At this point, I think if Starbucks reverses its policy, we have no one to blame except ourselves. We’re already seeing hints this may be getting pushed too far by our own side. Last year, when this issue heated up again, I thought our side was working too hard to help the antis keep the issue alive.

On top of that, Paul Barrett, the author of Glock the Book wrote an article about it in the mainstream press. Paul was even less complimentary than Sebastian, and the following paragraph is particularly scathing, and unfortunately right on point.

Gun-rights activists are playing an obnoxious, unnecessary game. They have the right in most states to carry firearms openly. But the now-annual Starbucks Appreciation event is a gratuitous attempt to rile the portion of the populace made uncomfortable by open display of firearms. In a country with sharply divided attitudes toward guns, why purposely provoke one’s neighbors? If one wants to carry a Glock, why not do so modestly, without the intentionally offensive show of force? The vast majority of lawful civilian gun owners handle their weapons carefully. The ones who show up at armed rallies at Starbucks are sending an unsavory signal of intimidation.

There’s nothing wrong with showing appreciate for Starbuck’s policy on firearms, and doing so with your money is the best way to do it. But I think we’re making a tactical error, because in many cases we’re acting like Starbucks is pro-gun. That’s just not the case, because Starbuck’s policy has always been “if it’s legal, we don’t care.” We’re doing the activist equivalent assuming that the cute girl in Chem class has a crush on us just because she’s nice to us. The reality is she’s just a nice person, but she really has a crush on Barry the captain of the track team.

I’m not saying don’t open carry, because lord knows I don’t want to kick over that can of worms. I am however going back to Caleb’s First Rule: Don’t be a dick. There are lots of people who go to Starbucks who don’t care one way or the other about gun rights, and the over-the-top demonstrations in Starbucks could alienate the sort of people we’re trying to win over to our side. If you’re going to carry a gun, just carry your gun. Do it legally, do it safely, but regardless of whether you’re OCing or CCing, don’t make a big production out of it. Just carry your gun, and live your life. That will be a much better example than any “OC demonstration” ever was.


  1. I’ll kick the can over.

    If you open carry to get attention or provoke a response, you are part of the problem. Knock it off before you give the gun-grabbers an excuse to ban open carry.

  2. I would use open carry as a last resort and definitely not as a means of making a statement. By last resort, I mean I didn’t have a means to carry discretely. Whether it is legal or not in your jurisdiction, there is no need to flaunt it in the faces of those that are either against it or are just uncomfortable around guns. We just make ourselves look like the ones trying to force our beliefs on others. The libs already have a pretty good handle on that so we don’t want to be confused with them.

    I second the stance, don’t be a dick.

  3. The first amendment gives us the right to say all sorts of things that no gentleman or lady would ever say, no matter how much you disagree with someone. Let us be better and show that we can exercise our second amendment rights with class and dignity.

  4. Sorry, can anyone point to a specific example of someone open carrying at a Starbucks demonstration “being a dick?”

    Last I checked (and contrary to Mr. Barrett’s position), legally open carrying a pistol isn’t an “intentionally offensive show of force.” A holstered firearm carried in lawful and safe manner is no more “offensive” or a “show of force” than someone driving the speed limit in their car down the highway. In fact, Mr. Barrett made numerous comments that are quite off the mark. For example, he insinuates that the sole purpose of the Starbucks Appreciation Day is to “rile the portion of the populace made uncomfortable by open display of firearms.” This is wrong, wrong, wrong. Are their some people who participate in order to scary the hippies? Probably, although I’ve never seen anyone at these events do anything other than order a coffee, pay, and politely answer questions if asked.

    The point of the rally is not to “rile” anyone up…at least not directly; the point is to bring awareness to the issue. If some people aren’t comfortable with it, then they have the opportunity to ask questions or voice their opinion (in a discussion that they will certainly lose since their side of the argument has no basis in logic, facts, or morality); if those options do not sit well with the anti-gun patrons of Starbucks on that day (or any other day, for that matter) then they have the option of letting their dollars do the talking and shop elsewhere. That’s not being a dick, it’s the simple execution of our country’s most sacred principle: I’ll do my thing, you do your thing. Apparently, that’s now considered being a dick…

    But I’ve come to expect nothing less from Gun Nuts political articles than clueless ramblings from people who simply don’t understand what the words “Liberty” and “Freedom” actually mean. It’s really quite disturbing…

    For Our Republic,
    Alex Europa
    Oath Keeper

    1. Sorry, can anyone point to a specific example of someone open carrying at a Starbucks demonstration “being a dick?”

      What’s the difference between flaunting “Gay Pride” and flaunting “Gun Pride”?

      1. Well, for starters, I don’t have a problem with people flaunting “Gay Pride” or anything else for that matter as long as it doesn’t cause harm to me or mine. Other people’s actions don’t offend me because they are the OTHER PERSON’S actions and they can do as they please. This is a REALLY simple concept: you do your thing, I’ll do mine. If people want to wear rainbow speedos and frolic in the streets singing “It’s Raining Men,” that’s their business, not mine, and doesn’t affect me in the least. And to cover the “won’t somebody think about the children” tangent before it gets started, it’s not difficult to explain most things to a child, as long as you’re honest with them and treat them like little people and don’t speak to them in baby-talk until they’re 5 years old.

        As to your actual question, I suppose that depends on your definition of the word “flaunting;” can you provide an example? I personally don’t consider wearing a gun on ones hip and acting in the exact same manner that they would otherwise “flaunting.” Again, I’ve never seen anyone open carrying at Starbucks (or anywhere else in that manner) “flaunt” that they are open carrying. They act the same way that they would if they didn’t have the gun on their hip. It’s not like they go to get change out of their pocket front pocket and announce loudly, “GEE, THIS GUN ON MY HIP MAKES IT SO DANG DIFFICULT TO GET THE CHANGE OUT OF MY POCKET!” From my perspective, the only people who would consider simple open carrying of a firearm “flaunting” are the people who are rabid anti-gun, and nothing is EVER going to change their mind about the issue, so why even pay them a modicum of interest or concern?

        For Our Republic,
        Alex Europa
        Oath Keeper

      2. Dear Anonymous,

        Those over-the-top “gay pride” parades and events display a lot of outrageous images and behavior, and undermine the gay community’s position that they are “just regular people” like heterosexuals. Because regular people look at what the gay community is doing at those events (public nakedness, public sex, etc.) and make negative judgements because it is way outside the standards of behavior that everyday people accept.

        Aggressive open carry is like playing the “I’m not touching you!” game by pointing your finger at someone from an inch away from their face and taunting them.

        By all means, open carry if you want to. But be low-key about it, and don’t go looking to provoke a confrontation. If you treat it as no big deal, everyone else will eventually do the same.

  5. How is a civilian legally open carrying any different than law enforcement doing the same thing in a Starbucks? This argument of doing it to be a dick makes absolutely no sense. I feel that the police officer can have the same intention as well and a lot of times not nearly as safely.

  6. Spot on Caleb, I couldn’t agree more!!

    Starbucks is in business to make money…..period. They have decided not to go above and beyond the law and post no gun signs, and I applaud them for it. So, after winning, why would we want to rub their faces in it? I think that can only make it worse and Starbucks will be forced to make a decision to not allow guns in their stores. For myself, I will show my appreciation more discreetly by continuing to spend my money there…..all while carrying concealed (and no one will be the wiser).


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